Today’s ophthalmologists are expected to perform a variety of impressive feats: they must improve patient care, reduce costs, stay updated on technology and grow patient volume. They also face competition from nearly every direction, including other ophthalmologists, hospitals and corporate providers.
Instead of obsessing over the competition, focus inward and strive to provide the best care possible. This can be done in any practice by focusing on improving patient care, learning new technology and considering ways to create a great patient experience.
This sentiment is wonderfully illustrated in the Academy Award-winning Pixar Short, “For the Birds.”
At the beginning of the video, the single bird is happiest when he is alone, without competition. The bird grows frustrated as the wire (or our market) becomes more and more congested. Even though the sudden influx of competition may be aggravating – and perhaps a little frightening – none of the birds are in danger.
That is, until the appearance of the major threat: the big bird.
This is the moment that a large, external force arrives on the scene, one that changes the way ophthalmic practices operate for years to come. At first, the birds try to ignore the threat, hoping that it might disappear if they move far enough away. Once they realize that the threat is there to stay, the birds focus on it completely, neglecting their own precarious position on the wire. By the time the birds realize their mistake, it’s too late – they’re flung far away, doomed to lose the perch they worked so hard to acquire.
When it comes to managing your ophthalmology business, don’t be like the birds!
Accept what you cannot change. Whether your practice is threatened by a large corporate provider, a change in reimbursement or a giant, blue bird, don’t panic. There will always be challenges that are out of your control. Your time and energy is limited, so invest it where you can see results.
Acknowledge threats as they arise. Don’t wait until small problems become big problems. If there’s a large bird moving towards your practice, don’t ignore it – strategize. The sooner you acknowledge the threat, the sooner you can start calmly working to address it.
Avoid knee-jerk reactions. It may be tempting to lash out or panic when threats appear, but it’s better to react strategically and plan for long-term success.
It’s no secret that managing a growing ophthalmic practice is difficult, particularly for providers who are looking to stay competitive and grow their patient volume. Try not to panic. Accept that you will face challenges, but don’t ignore them. Make calm, well informed decisions. Focus inwards to provide the best service possible and never lose sight of the wire underneath you.