The Physician and the Entrepreneur

There are many similar qualities that contribute to success in any field, such as leadership, analysis, sound decision-making, and passion for one's work. Beyond that, it has been well-documented that the skills that make a good entrepreneur aren't necessarily the same as those that make a good physician.

There are many similar qualities that contribute to success in any field, such as leadership, analysis, sound decision-making, and passion for one’s work.

Beyond that, it has been well-documented that the skills that make a good entrepreneur aren’t necessarily the same as those that make a good physician. The expert entrepreneur must be a swift decision-maker, must adjust quickly to a string of business variables and ever-changing market forces, and must often move with great urgency and speed. A good physician must often display great patience, waiting for treatments to take their course, and waiting on the body’s natural defenses to lead to healing.

The unique challenge for physicians is that many of them must play both roles—caregiver and business owner (in the form of your practice). Excellence in one area will not by any means promise excellence in the other. Many physicians have the necessary skills to run a great practice, but just as many, if not more, go through the motions in managing their practice, believing that providing the best care will help them overcome any deficiencies in running their practice. Substance over style, if you will.

Your role as a caregiver will always remain primary, to be sure, but when you fail to capitalize on opportunities to run your practice better, you are subtly impacting your ability to provide the best care. Take, for example, the patient who has high blood pressure and needs to have follow-up care on a regular basis. On her last visit, though, a scheduling error caused her to sit in your waiting room for 90 minutes and miss an important meeting at work. Now, she’s reluctant to make or keep her next appointment.

In this era of the empowered consumer, the little things matter more than ever. How you run your practice says a lot about you as a caregiver, whether you realize it or not. If you can borrow some of the urgency that drives the entrepreneur, and match it to your patient pursuit of the best medical care, you’ll be farther along in your efforts to maximize care. Hopefully, a resource such as PFNlive provides some of the tools and motivation to help you get there.

Mike Hennessy is Chairman and CEO of MJH & Associates. Click here for more Hennessy's Highlights