(if you read this and enjoy it, you can join the upcoming lectures digital expert Dana Corriel, MD is leading, through SoMeDocs)
I came across a great commentary about hospital systems earlier this week which quickly dissected the good and the bad of hospital systems in existence today. It was in a post on LinkedIn, written by Spencer Dorn, who is the Vice-Chair and Professor of Medicine at UNC. I appreciate when those in leadership roles speak up, and I appreciate even more when their commentaries stimulate a response from me.
We need hospitals, plain and simply.
While I often vent about physicians’ struggles within these behemoths (see here and here and here), I also know that our society needs hospitals. Humans need a physical space where they can heal, whenever they need it. They need to depend on structures that function well, so that they don’t have to spend a single brain cell on whether they’re being properly cared for.
This is why we need to clean up the field of healthcare. To make it more well-oiled. Not in a factory sense, per se. Patients don’t want to feel like cogs in a wheel. But in a transactional processes sense – the source of our infighting, so to speak – This needs a resolution. STAT.
Some of that is being taken care of through the “back-alley” virtual spaces in which we’re meeting; individual doctors who are fed up with the way the system is run, but feel helpless singularly trying to fix it.
Some of that is being fixed through entrepreneurial startups, in which we appeal to the public in whatever invention we come up with, to make things better.
MY own undertaking has been working on well-oiling this digital startup. And I’ve learned a lesson or two along the way (heck, I KEEP learning those lessons, thanks to the lectures we’re putting together to help increase the exchange of information outside of hospital walls).
I personally think that what worked for me is the following:
I remained solo for a long while. I’m waiting for the process to get well-oiled before expansion. Adding in others is both a blessing and a curse. More support, more connections. But also more opinions, more approvals needed, more potential for disagreements. Too many chefs in a kitchen isn’t always a good thing. This is how I view hospital systems. They can’t change rapidly enough, for the better (even if they want to), because the infrastructure is too big, too complex. Too many chefs in their kitchen.
I remain flexible. When perfecting a business in the world of today, flexibility is key. This is especially true when you’re building a strong foundation. And it’s easiest in the digital world. In my “digital building” (I like to use the analogy that I’m building a mall, or a hotel), if a floor has been built, but it isn’t proving to be fruitful, I can simply take all of the bricks away – even brick by brick, if needed – and rebuild a floor from scratch. A hospital system needs to remain flexible but again, they can’t because of the hierarchy levels needed for even a small change to be made. Plus, there’s physical structures and processes that are in place that take a long time to break and rebuild. This is real life, not the digital world.
I remain a part of the building crew. Building my business wasn’t the product of outsourcing because I felt it was important to know how everything was run. I knew that it would sacrifice the speed in which I grew, because doing it yourself means slow growth. But that didn’t matter. Because knowing how everything works means you can give personalized attention to those who use it, and fix things in a snap. I realize that hospitals aren’t built that way, but wouldn’t it be amazing if the CEO could simply roll up her sleeves and make that small adjustment needed, overnight (as I do in my very small scale business)? Again, I know it can’t happen, but one can dream, no?
I realize that hospitals aren't built like digital ventures, but wouldn't it be amazing if the CEO could simply roll up her sleeves and make that small adjustment needed, overnight (as I do in my very small scale business)? Click To Tweet
I remain dedicated to overall mission. This means having to change things around as tides change. Experimenting with what works and re-angling to achieve desired outcome. I believe that this is what hospitals strive for too. Because the moment we stop believing this, we lose our trust, and no longer put in effort to impact change. I believe that hospitals prefer to have everyone in the equation happy – the patient population they serve AND the each and every one of the doctors within that treats them (and represents the system as a whole).
In the instance of my business, my mission has been to positively contribute to changes in healthcare. I’m building out a platform and website that doctors can use – to showcase themselves – and the world at large can use – to quickly identify doctors that are innovating today as change-makers. My goal is to implement some of the tactics described above, in building this out, and prove that entrepreneurs can succeed regardless of what field they came from.
I'm building out a platform and website that doctors can use - to showcase themselves - and the world at large can use - to quickly identify doctors that are innovating today as change-makers. Click To Tweet
In the meantime, testimonials are starting to trickle in, from the doctors who recognize the power of this space. And I’m embracing any and every company that reaches out and wants to work with us. Yes, we help showcase the superstars of healthcare (we’re focusing on the doctors because that’s what I started out as, and I wanted to build this space for them) and are happy to work with hospital systems who wish to display their rockstars on our site. The whole purpose of our building this is to give recognition to the people who are making a difference in the field of health, inside the office and out.
The whole purpose of building out SoMeDocs is to give recognition to the people who are making a difference in the field of health, inside the office and out. Click To Tweet
Moral of the article? Hospital systems have a long way to go. I’d like to believe that they want to work both with the patients AND with the doctor, even when the doctor showcases themselves as the incredible individuals that they are. Hospitals systems can benefit from better PR when their individual doctors positively build presence online, and we help them do that. So it CAN be done. We just need to build it together, virtual brick by virtual brick.