By Michael Tetreault, Editor-in-Chief
JANUARY 3, 2015 – If you’re currently sitting at your desk or at the hospital sitting in the lounge, daydreaming about how to start your own career path in direct primary care (DPC), this is the article for you.
You already know that to start your own DPC medical practice can be an intimidating process requiring a lot of hard work. After all, according to interviews by The DPC Journal, a significant portion (60%) of your more experienced DPC colleagues currently operating a DPC practice would advise medical residents and new physicians fresh out of medical school NOT to venture out into DPC for a few years.
But if you’re like some highly motivated young physicians, the idea of a DPC practice has been with you day and night. Maybe you’re just unhappy with your current job or position in life. Or maybe you’ve always dreamed of opening your own medical practice.
Regardless of the reason, here are our…
17 signs that you may need to start your own DPC practice:
- You’re independent. Are you a problem solver who will try to figure out most problems on your own? If so, then you may feel independent enough to build a DPC practice.
- You’re a thinker. DPC owner/operators never seem to stop thinking, to some it’s both a blessing and a curse. Is this you? If so, maybe it’s time to stop thinking for others and do something to put your thoughts in motion. Afterall, a lot more hospitalist physicians are considering leaving their post and venturing into this marketplace.
- You feel stuck at your current job. If you hate waking up every day and commuting to your current job, then you’re probably unfulfilled. The idea of the standard 9-to-5 job just doesn’t do it for you. Determine if you need to change things up or if you need to be your own boss.
- You have passion. If there’s one DPC concept that stays with you that you’ve completely fallen in love with, perhaps you could turn it into a reality. DPC physicians are truly passionate about what they do for their patients and these physicians will do everything possible they can to share their concept with the rest of the world, and their peers.
- You’re motivated. You don’t always need someone over your shoulder to get you motivated. Self-motivation is what you’ll need to help convert your DPC ideas into reality.
- You’re creative. If you’re tired of having your creative medical practice business ideas go to waste, then maybe it’s time to get into a DPC practice and express yourself.
- You’re organized. Running a DPC practice requires an physician to have great organizational skills. At some point you may want or need to hire some help (Nurse, Administrative Assistant, accountant or lawyer), but in the beginning you’ll probably rely on yourself to track finances and create your own practice. You’ll never get that done if you aren’t organized.
- You feel a need to prove your concept. Let’s say you have a great concept for a DPC practice but everyone is telling you it can’t be done. What are you going to do about it? This might just enough motivation for you to prove them wrong.
- You’re a leader. Having a great business model is one thing. Talking to others doctors who’ve been there and done that before you is another. But at the end of the day, those doctors aren’t going to financially bale you out and pay your bills or your debt. Being able to communicate your DPC practice value proposition, develop it and follow through with it is one thing but being able to convince others to join you in your vision is another. If you have the leadership skills to rally the staff and motivate them, consider starting your own DPC practice.
- You want to be the boss. Whether you just need to be in control or just don’t like taking directions from others, or are simply tired of the managed care grind, you have already shown you want to be the boss.
- You have a great work ethic. If you don’t mind putting in 12 to 18 hour work days multiple times a week, then why not put that to work for yourself?
- You hate working for others. If you seriously can’t stand taking orders and hate your current career trajectory; start planning your DPC practice entry strategy.
- You’re a problem solver. Are you the type of person who takes responsibility for problem solving? Let’s say the vaccine refrigerator in your practice breaks down … would you be the person who not only fixes it but gets it running better than before? If so, chalk this one up as a sign that you can start your own DPC practice.
- You’re not afraid of failure. According to The DPC Journal, approximately 10% of DPC doctors tell us that they’re doing much worse, financially, than the year prior (in 2014). As a DPC physician, you’re probably going to encounter a failure along the way. You’re going to treat patients who think your membership medicine practice is too expensive. If the thought of failure doesn’t phase you, then this line of work could be for you.
- There’s a gap to fill. If you notice that there’s a market in your local community and no one else is capitalizing on your concept, then maybe you’re the one to do bring it to your local marketplace.
- You have street smarts. If you’re one those unique people with street smarts as well as professional skills sprinkled with quite a bit of business and marketing savvy, then you might put those talents to work in your own DPC practice.
- You’ve always wanted to do something you enjoy. Serving your patients and serving others has always made your day, so instead of merely thinking about it, take a leap of faith and pursue your own DPC practice. If you follow your dream, everything else could fall into place.
Yes, you can start your own DPC practice without some of these traits, but it will be a harder journey.
A question for current DPC physician owner/operators, is how many of these 17 signs did you show before you opened up your DPC practice? We’d love to hear from you. You can use the comment section below.