As a physician, you are probably very busy. You spend most of your day working with patients, then the extra time between appointment and after hours on paperwork to satisfy all the regulations and rules that government and insurance companies have for medical practitioners. At the end of each day, you probably don’t feel like you have much time for networking with your medical professional peers. Unfortunately private doctors that don’t devote any time to networking are missing out on a good opportunity expand their own knowledge and improve patient care. Here are some reasons that networking with other concierge doctors is critical to your success.
What is Networking?
When you think of networking, you might think of cocktail parties or functions where you hand out your business card to everyone in the room in the hopes of landing a new job. For medical professionals like private physicians, networking should be about making connections with your peers and professional development agencies and building relationships that can improve your practice. The key to successful networking is finding time to build the relationships that can help you become better at what you do.
Benefits of Networking
There are a lot of reasons that you should be networking with your concierge physician peers, including:
- Keeping up with trends and new dynamics in the concierge medicine industry – if you are the last concierge doctor to know about an added value or service that everyone else is offering, you could lose members.
- Developing your leadership and people skills – bedside manner is one of the most important things you can develop as a physician, and just like any other skill, it requires practice and it’s something you should develop outside of just your interactions with patients.
- Professional development – as a concierge physician, you will probably be wearing many different hats, including medical professional, marketing professional, and business owner. You need to develop skills in each of these areas to maximize the services you can offer to your clients, while maintaining a successful practice that offers a livable income for you and your family. If you are not already a savvy marketer, or you want to learn some best practices for managing paperwork and office staff, professional networking can help you find the right groups to build these skills.
- Opportunities to become a thought leader in your profession – physicians who take the time to network with others in local public health, medical, government, non-profit, and educational spheres will find that there are many opportunities to use your expertise to influence public policy and healthcare for your concierge medicine office and for the community. You don’t have to run for political office to be influential in your community, you just need to know the right people who can help connect you with groups that make decisions that affect the medical industry and your practice.
- Develop good referral networks – as a general practitioner, you won’t be able to provide all the care that all of your patients need. At times you may find that you need to refer them out for specialty care, and when that time comes you want to have a solid network of specialty care physicians that you trust. Referring patients to someone you don’t know could damage the trust you have with your patients if that person provides inadequate care.
Getting Started with Networking
If you believe in the benefits of networking but you don’t know where to start, often the best place is to begin is by joining a professional organization like the American Academy of Private Physicians. This will give you instant access to like-minded professionals in your industry. Pay the dues, start attending local events, sign up to get the newsletters and other professional publications, register for the annual conferences, and you will often find that you are getting much more than you thought from that small annual investment.
Don’t write off networking as just something that business people do, or just something that sales people do. Consider all the benefits it can provide for you as a medical professional, and get started networking today.