“Change is optional. So is survival.” – W. Edwards Deming
The business of medicine – reimbursement, regulatory obligations, technology, the whole kit and caboodle – is experiencing unprecedented change. To find an industry being disrupted, look no further than health care.
Change isn’t easy – for anyone. Often physicians are naturally skeptical and resistant to change. You’re trained to question data and want evidence that a change is valid and warranted. Today, though, you’re being forced to rapidly adapt to new technology, care delivery models and evolving patient expectations.
So, is change optional? Dinosaurs aren’t the only ones who didn’t adapt. Let’s examine a few companies whose mistakes are proof that getting stuck in the old ways comes with a cost.
Eastman Kodak Company didn’t embrace the consumer trend from film to digital, and the company once worth $31 billion filed for bankruptcy in 2012. Blackberry’s failure to adapt quickly enough to changing tech and consumer taste with the rise of iPhones and Android-based devices led to BlackBerry’s demise. Once at the helm of the smartphone industry, BlackBerry’s market share is now a mere 3 percent. Borders, the book megastore pioneer, was slow to adapt to digital and online bookselling, outsourcing its website to Amazon rather than putting its own stake in the ground. Borders relaunched its website in 2008, but it was too late; it was just too far behind in the digital book era. And Blockbuster announced it would be closing its mall and retail store distribution centers in 2014 after failing to adapt to the shift toward streaming and kiosk rentals.
How can you embrace change? Let’s take a page from the playbook of one of America’s most renowned physicians, orthopedist James Andrews, M.D., the formidable surgeon who’s treated all the “greats” – Drew Brees, Charles Barkley, Jack Nicklaus. Not only is Dr. Andrews a distinguished physician, but he imparts some great wisdom for physicians and non-physicians alike. One of my favorites: “If you’re green, you’re growing – and if you’re ripe, you’re next to rotten.”
He reminds us to harness our inner academician, and use that curiosity as a tool to help us flourish.
While you may not enjoy the challenge of change, what you do have in your corner when you’re a lifelong learner is an abundance of desire and hunger to grow and advance your knowledge. Don’t underestimate that. And, don’t shed your enthusiasm and energy for your career, and the purpose that drew you to medicine in the first place. The most prolific innovators leverage disruption to advance their own success. You are never too old to learn, and you are never so experienced that there is absolutely nothing to learn. That said, curiosity, the desire to grow and develop professionally and personally, is an invaluable quality. Ask probing questions. Lean in to change as it approaches, and seek out the positive that it might bring. Stay abreast of the latest and greatest.
There are new technologies, mandates, developments and best practices that are consistently changing the face of every industry – especially healthcare. Examine those in your field, and outside of your industry alike, who are leading the pack, challenging the status quo, and doing remarkable things. How can you be successful if you stand still in such an ever-evolving environment?
Continue to feed the enthusiasm that you felt the first day you started in your practice, by gathering new knowledge. That way you won’t just wither on the vine – being physically present in your job year in and year out, but contributing very little to your organization’s or your profession’s today or future.
Be the change you wish to see.
Adaptation of original article in Physicians Bulletin, a publication of the Metro Omaha Medical Society. Written by Laurie Baedke, Core Bank’s Senior Vice President, Healthcare Division. Not a traditional banker, Laurie was attracted to Core Bank because it’s not a traditional bank. Her roots are in healthcare leadership – physician practice management to be exact. Backed by a graduate degree in healthcare administration and dual board certifications and fellowships from the American College of Healthcare Executives and the American College of Medical Practice executives, she has a wealth of knowledge and understanding of the complexities of healthcare.