I have been facing this gruelling query by some of the colleagues and juniors regarding the bleakest possibility of Doctors being good businessmen.
In my experience , being born to a doctor father , I know lots of doctors, but most of them are not very good at handling money. The fact that they got into medical college means they are bright and must have been in the top of their class, but most of them have very little business sense.
First thing that I have seen is that most of them are not willing to learn . One of the occupational hazards of being a doctor is that because they did so well academically, many of them they think they know it all , and cannot be taught anything. How sadly mistaken they are ! If you do not know what you do not know, how will you ever learn new stuff ?
Secondarily , Doctors are often intensely political and competitive. They are secretive and not willing to share what they have learnt with their colleagues – which means that most doctors have to make their own mistakes in order to get ahead.
The biggest lacuna that I have found in tier 3 cities is that most doctors are in solo practise, which means they are stuck thinking small most of their lives. In their first decade of practise, they are so busy trying to attract patients, they they often lose sight of the big picture. By the time they become more mature, they are already ready to retire !
Then comes the KickBack Practise : Giving cuts has become the norm today and most doctors are so used to taking shortcuts in order to build their practise, that they lose sight of basic customer service principles. This means that rather than spend time and energy keeping their patients happy, they waste a lot of it networking with colleagues who refer patients to them . Because these colleagues think the same way they do, there is very little attention paid to growing the business ethically.
Technology Geeks rather than Freaks : Most doctors do not use technology cleverly. While they are often aware of the latest gadget and gizmo in their own specialty, they are often not smart enough to use technology for managing their clinic , growing their practise or marketing themselves.
Financial Unawareness : Many are woefully financially naive. When they first start practise, they are so used to working for free that they do not think about paying themselves at all ! When they start their clinic, they treat the clinic’s income as their personal income. However, this is actually the income of their business – they should only be paying themselves a salary as a CEO. The clinic should be profitable enough to pay them a salary and should be able to run without their presence ! Most doctors are so busy working in their practise , that they fail to work on their practise !
Doctors do not learn to leverage their strengths; and because they are so busy competing with each other , they do not learn to cooperate and grow the pie for their profession. They fritter away the goodwill they have earned from their patients on personal gratification. Sadly, the leaders of the profession are intensely political , and because they are so focussed on looking only after their personal selfish interests, they do little for the profession as a whole. By the time they are senior and are capable of looking at the big picture, they are thinking about retiring !
Most doctors are good at what they do, which is taking care of their patients . While this is good for their personal wellbeing, it’s not good for the profession, which lacks leaders who can provide wise counsel for their colleagues and peers.