Is Entrepreneurship Compatible With Healthcare?

Money is a tricky subject in healthcare.  The moment money comes into any discussion the spectre of “conflict of interest” immediately casts its shadow and raises ugly suspicions.

Anyone in business is, by definition, an entrepreneur.  That includes all private clinicians where income is a function of the volume and type of care provided.

Of all the clinicians I know, I can’t think of any who went into healthcare to “make money”.  It’s not what the healthcare profession is about.  One clinician I know describes himself as an “accidental entrepreneur” and that is a wholly accurate title for most clinicians.  Or for others it might be more a case of “reluctant entrepreneur”!

The moment a clinician leaves the NHS and works privately (not applicable for many who go directly to private practice), they are in the healthcare business.  A sole practitioner working from their spare room is an “entrepreneur”.

When we think of entrepreneur, I suspect 99% of us think Richard Branson.

Technician, entrepreneur or both?

If we were asked to name another 10 entrepreneurs, in the UK we would probably reel off Alan Sugar, before moving to Dragons Den characters like Peter Jones, Deborah Meaden, Theo Paphitis or we might think abroad and think Steve Jobs and up until recently we might have allowed ourselves to say Donald T!

So, are these well known people just megalomaniacs sitting stroking their white cat?  Well, one might be but on the whole, not really.

Whether we think of these iconic entrepreneurs or a local builder, printing company, solicitor or manual therapist, the most successful invariably just work really hard to meet the needs of their customer (better than the competition).

That can be the best service, the best products, the ease of doing business with them (because they have an efficient operation), the nicest staff (well trained) and usually they are effective in letting people know about their services so they get to serve and help more people.

Within healthcare, amongst some other factors, my observation is that the most successful clinics provide a better than average level of care (note – not always the best) where the focus is on providing the best service possible and experience for the patient.

Of course there are some clinicians who, like Alex the Lion in the film Madagascar, view every patient as fresh meat or a walking £ sign, but I think that is the exception rather than the rule.

A successful clinician might enjoy material rewards but I believe the material rewards are a function of how well you care for your patients and how many people you reach out to care for.

We live in a capitalist society and therefore financial goals are a requirement for individuals, including clinicians, because our futures and retirement standard of living depend on it (unless we plan to go and live in the woods).

Realising a financial goal requires a strategy and tactics to get there.  But returning to the title, the two need not be mutually exclusive.

Successful entrepreneurship requires providing the best possible product, service and experience to the customer, which will help achieve a given set of goals – personal or financial.

So when it comes to healthcare, I believe it is compatible with entrepreneurship albeit that in practically all cases the two come together accidentally!  And at the end of the day it’s not complicated; the patient must come first, always.

Author: Stephen Small – Steadfast Clinics, IDD Therapy and Spinex Disc Clinic
Connect on linkedin www.linkedin.com/in/stephen-small-0b404718
Twitter: www.twitter.com/iddtherapyeuro (I follow back)

Clinic marketing – Pricing strategies for the benefit of your clinic

The majority of clinics have a uniform pricing structure.  In this article I want to highlight the benefits of a dual layer pricing structure for the clinic owner, clinic associates and the clinic as a whole.

There is so much competition that it is more important than ever to stand out from the crowd.  There are a number of ways to doing this but having expert status or having specialist treatment programmes are two key ways to stand out from the masses.

Pricing

Pricing is an incredibly powerful marketing tool to give signals to your audience:

High price = higher quality/value
Lower price = lower quality/value

There are some consumers who only want the best and then there are consumers who are happy for standard service e.g Tesco Finest vs mid range branded item 

What clinics can learn from hair salons

Have you ever been to a hair salon where there are different prices for different levels of stylist?

I have never had a hair cut at Toni and Guy, but to my mind at least they are the brand which says quality haircut.  As for the stylists, well, they work at Toni and Guy so you expect them to all be very good.

The artistic directors are priced higher than the senior stylists and the pricing differences suggest that the artistic director will give the best haircut available. Dual Pricing

Some people will want to pay more the artistic director whilst others will be satisfied with a senior stylist.

So for clinics…

It is expected that the clinic director should be the leader of the clinic.  They are (supposed to be) the best clinician and their leadership status sets the course of the clinic brand.

Some patients want to see the leader, the best so it makes sense to affirm the clinic director’s status as the best by having a visible higher price point.

The clinic director will see existing patients and attract new ones – and these patients are happy to pay a higher price.  If a patient wants to see the director but the director is fully booked, the receptionist can book them in with an associate who is equally capable of treating the patient.

Additionally, the higher price for the clinic director has the effect of making the associate price look good value.  No change in price, but new perceived value and this is attractive to would-be patients who are mildly price-conscious.

When a prospective patients looks at your website, they will see by the price points that the clinic is good because it is run by an expert (this person must be an expert – the higher price tells them that).  This reflects well for the associates as they are members of the expert team.

The patient then has a choice as to who they want to see.  I only want the best person, or I am happy for the associate to see me because I am assured that the associate will give me the service I need.  

Whether it is £5, £10 or £20, any price differentiation has a subtle but powerful effect on the perceived expert status of the clinic in the eyes of the would-be patient.

That is good for everyone. 

Author: Stephen Small
www.SteadfastClinics.co.uk