The Future is Now: Doctors Contradict Business Model to Bring Back House Calls

What if your Retirement Community opened its doors to every employee from every health care company that wanted to get into its building to provide services – Home Health, Hospice, Personal Care, DME, PT/OT, etc.?  It would be over-run with literally hundreds of community employees roaming around everywhere!


Now, for an interesting contrast…

What if your Retirement Community opened its doors to all the local physicians seeking to provide on-site services?

HellOOooooo…Anybody there???


In one case – out of control chaos!  In the second – emptiness, silence…

Why?  Why this difference?

What’s the difference between doctors and all the rest of the community healthcare services that results in such disparity in where their services are performed?  Is it that doctors aren’t interested in providing on-site care in the community whereas everyone else is?  Hardly!  Doctors should be the leaders of a collaborative healthcare approach that includes all these services, so why are they “missing in action?”

The answer to this question is conspicuously absent in our Retirement Community dialogue, and understanding the answer is crucial to reversing this shortcoming.  The answer is the BUSINESS MODEL.  The business model for a doctor’s medical practice is completely opposite the business model of all the other services.

The doctor’s business model is that his practice is located in his office ( This is where he has everything he needs to conduct his business.  You take him out of his office, and he’s helpless…he has none of the support he needs to conduct his medical practice – no exam room, no supplies, no  schedule, no receptionist, no billing clerk, no nurse, no medical assistant, no lab, no EKG, no x-ray.  Consequently, if patients want medical care, they must go to the doctor, or they simply don’t get care.  If you try to break this paradigm and encourage the doctor to go to the patient, the doctor’s medical practice becomes unprofitable because of the inefficiency that results from contradicting his business model.  And since no one can sustain a successful business by being unprofitable, doctors rarely practice outside their offices.

Contrast this with the OPPOSITE business model of nearly all the other healthcare services.  Their place of business is in the patient’s home.  Their business operates on the principle of providing home based care.  They don’t need to equip an office in which to provide their customary care, and so they couldn’t provide office based care even if they wanted to.

But there’s a way to bring doctors and community healthcare services together to work as a team in Retirement Communities.  This requires an innovative healthcare model that offers doctors the ability to contradict their usual paradigm and practice profitably on-site outside of their office (

What if doctors were willing to adapt this new paradigm and reach out to Retirement Communities to provide regularly scheduled on-site full primary care services in the residents’ rooms?  Would this be the kind of valuable service a Retirement Community might consider investing in, assuming their investment was not cost prohibitive?  Or, would Retirement Communities continue with ‘business as usual’ and be unwilling to innovate and achieve what was previously unattainable – offering regularly scheduled on-site physician services to every resident?

Think the same, stay the same. Think differently, and thrive!

Think the same, stay the same.  Epitaph?  Or opportunity?  If you are a Retirement Community who thinks this way, then your competitors are silently thanking you.  That’s because, slowly but surely, they will be assimilating YOUR residents (or perhaps already are!).  Make no mistake about it…while you’re playing it safe and not investing in and promoting new services and amenities that distinguish YOU, your successful competitors are doing just the opposite.

Ask yourself:  what do we offer today that we didn’t offer 3 months ago, 6 months ago, a year ago, that brings real value and meaning to our residents and that truly distinguishes us?  Many Communities won’t have an answer, and their silence is just another nail in their coffin.

But to those of you who do have an answer, have you really promoted these services?  Do the homeowners and others who live and work within a 10 mile radius of your Retirement Community (where 70% of your referrals come from) even know what you offer and the ways you are different from your competitors?  Or is your advertising exactly the same as everyone else in your town?

What would be your response to a prospective resident or baby boomer family who were to ask you:  “What distinguishes YOU from all the other Communities we’re going to tour today?”  Would you have an immediate and enthusiastic response?  Or, would you find yourself mumbling and getting all tongue-tied attempting to escape a VERY uncomfortable, yet very basic and ESSENTIAL question.

A follow-up blog will be coming out soon that will offer a suggestion.  In the meantime, think about the following: