We need more primary care entrepreneurs. Fewer adults are seeing their primary care physician (PCP), opting more often to see a nurse practitioner (NP) and physician assistant (PA), according to a new research brief from the Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI), a non-partisan, non-profit organization launched in 2011.
In defining primary care, it is necessary to describe the nature of services provided to patients, as well as to identify who are the primary care providers. The domain of primary care includes the primary care physician, other physicians who include some primary care services in their practices, and some non-physician providers. However, central to the concept of primary care is the patient. Therefore, such definitions are incomplete without including a description of the primary care practice. Here are some definitions concerning the different parts of primary care.
Digital medicine, the use of information and communications (ICT) technologies to exchange medical information, is being promoted as the salvation of our sick, sick care system. Here are some takeaways from a recent conference, for example:
- Key Takeaways
- Creating a digital medicine toolkit becomes more relevant as we transition away from fee-for-service and into value based reimbursement.
- But it is very important to note that in healthcare the biggest ROI for any investment is to invest in primary care. Tools to assist, complement, and support the primary care physicians can potentially of most value.
- High priority items to invest in - telemedicine, data analytics, behavioral health.
- Incentive structures from payers or employers are necessary components to the success of a digital intervention
Consequently, primary care is changing in response to many factors, including consumerization and the hightened patient and care community service, cost and quality expectations.
With all this change, as always, comes opportunities for primary care entrepreneurs interested in creating multiples of user defined value through the deployment of innovation:
- Digital health development, dissemination and implementation.
- Office based clinical research using digital tools.
- Edupreneurship opportunities.
- Business model innovation.
- Patient experience innovation.
- Doctor experience innovation.
- Working with patient entrepreneurs and prosumers.
- Non-clinical physician entrepreneurship career opportunities.
- Care coordination tools.
- Participation in early stage drug, device, digital health and care delivery product design and development.
- Intrapreneurial leadership as an employed physician or health professional.
- Social entrepreneurship.
- Physician investing.
- Transforming medical education.
- Interprofessional entrepreneurship.
- Building community based biomedical and clinical innovation networks.
- Encouraging medical societies to offer biomedical entrepreneurship education and training.
- Building and participating in accelerators, scalerators and other regional innovation ecosystems.
- Expanding your internal and external networks.
- Track and triage using AI engines to predict and personalize care.
While the opportunities are great, so are the barriers to physician entrepreneurship. Here are some ways to overcome them. Here are some ways to get started.
There are three basic ways for primary care docs to innovate their way out of the mess we've caused: technology innovation or adoption, execution and customer/patient experience.
Physician entrepreneurship is the pursuit of opportunity under conditions of uncertainty with the goal of creating multiples of user defined value through the development, deployment and dissemination of biomedical and clinical innovation.
Primary care is under stress and needs to be unbundled. It is getting harder to save private practice. The only way to transform it is to embrace an entrepreneurial mindset and follow the rules of Othercare. Or, you can just fake it 'till you make it.
Arlen Meyers, MD, MBA is the President and CEO of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs.