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…
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 (http://housecalls-llc.com/articles/why-doctors-dont-go-to-retirement-communitiesunless/). 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 (http://housecalls-llc.com/articles/physicians-must-partner-with-retirement-communities-and-heres-why/).
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?