Like most, our family decided that we had outgrown our current home a few years ago and wanted to move into a larger house that offered more square footage and land. It had been nearly twenty years since living in the house we have owned since the end of the residency, and the house-hunting effort seemed more bewildering and confusing than two decades ago. At the time, I was too busy running my own practice and starting another business venture and did not have the time or inclination to figure it out on my own.
I was delighted stumbling onto a company that provided a concierge service for physicians looking to buy a home. I had the opportunity to talk to the owner Dr. Peter Kim, an anesthesiologist, who started his company whose mission was to take the stress out of the home buying process for doctors. He understood that many physicians were like me, not wanting to deal with an endless number of lenders and worried about paying too much money. Not only did his company simplify the process, it also introduced me to different financial loan opportunities that were available to physicians that I never knew existed.
I had a great experience using his company which led to eventually finding the home of our dreams. Of course, you want to due diligence when hiring any business, but odds are, my trust and experience improve significantly when a doctor runs it.
In another example, when it came time to find an EMR platform, my medical spa practice decided to go with a company that a cosmetic surgeon started. Again, it seems to have been a wise choice. The founder was a practice owner like myself who had buyer’s remorse after purchasing an inefficient EMR, slowed down his workflow, and caused headaches from both staff and patients alike. He launched his now-growing technology business to solve these challenges, which incidentally came from a recommendation from several of my colleagues.
And speaking of problems, one of the biggest facing medical doctors today is, of course, physician burnout. It has been well documented that professional coaching leads to substantial improvement in physician wellbeing.
But what’s even more impactful is on who is conducting the professional coaching. Overwhelmingly, physicians would prefer to have it done by their peers. A study found that 88 percent of physicians would prefer other physician colleagues providing that help and support rather than mental health professionals by nearly a 2 to 1 margin. On further analysis of why doctors were chosen over licensed therapists, the overwhelming feeling that they would be better at understanding their concerns has gone through it themselves.
There has been a growing wave of entrepreneurial physicians finding joy and value in starting consulting and coaching businesses. Many use their expertise to work with physicians exclusively. Our company has been excited to play a part in better spotlighting these businesses. Today it is now even easier to find doctors who can give you guidance on everything from running your own practice more efficiently, build a better relationship with your spouse, to negotiating your next job contract.
We are all aware of the tired refrain that “physicians are bad at business.” It is time to retire that phrase. Business has not been our primary focus, and perhaps the state of medicine may result from that.
So if given a choice, consider supporting more physician-owned businesses. If you have a problem that needs solving, there may be a colleague out there who has already figured it out and can help.
Michael Woo-Ming is a physician entrepreneur.
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