What is an Ideal Clinic?
There is a movement in the US that began on the West Coast, primarily in Oregon. It is a trend in which doctors are leaving jobs with large hospitals and medical centers to start small clinics. Some of these doctors refer to their clinics as “Ideal Clinics.” Additionally, some refer to these doctors as “Happy Doctors.”
Why would a doctor leave a secure job to start over?
Job offerings for doctors sound very good. The pay, and benefits are excellent. It is hard to imagine why a doctor would not want to get one of these jobs with large healthcare organizations. Why would anyone give up such a good position?
Doctors want to care for their patients.
You may wonder when you go to the doctor, does the doctor care about you and your health issues? You wait in an overcrowded waiting room, being shuffled around like cattle by angry staff. Then, they take you back to a small, cold exam room.
When the doctor comes into the room, you feel rushed. If you get the sense that the doctor’s goal during your visit is to get out of the room as soon as possible, you are correct. Doctors are under pressure to get to the next patient.
You may not even see a doctor. Many large institutions use other health care professionals to stand in for your doctor.
The doctor’s hands are often tied by excessive red tape.
While the large healthcare institution jobs sound great on paper, they can be tortuous to a doctor who wants to care for their patients properly. Administrators give the doctors quotas of how many patients they must see daily. And, they force the doctors to use electronic health records software that is difficult and time-consuming.
Throw into the mix the difficulties caused by health insurance companies with an endless set of rules that doctors must follow. Between the doctor’s employer and patient healthcare insurance restrictions, the doctor becomes overwhelmed.
It’s not that your doctor does not care about you and want to spend more time with you. The problem is that they are under immense pressure coming from different directions.
Why should you care about a doctor’s problems?
I can see why most people would not have much sympathy for the doctor’s predicament. After all, they make good money and drive fancy cars. Why should they get to complain?
Yet, all is not as it seems when it comes to a doctor’s situation. Most medical students finish medical school with school loan debt. Their debt may take many years, or decades, to pay off. It’s not unusual to meet a doctor who has been in practice for 18 years and still has not paid off their student loans.
Being a doctor can be a high stress job.
Doctors find themselves in abusive work situations where they feel trapped. To keep up with mortgage payments, loan payments, and more, they believe that they cannot afford to give up the abusive job.
Medical doctors have amongst the highest suicide rates of any profession. Many doctors are anxious and depressed. Some even drink too much on the weekends or when they come home from work at night.
What happens to doctors who need help with stress? They may find that asking for help leads to discipline from their state medical board.
The medical boards are not trying to make life difficult for the doctor. They have a responsibility to the state to protect the safety of patients. How would it look if they didn’t take action?
Healthcare employers and administrators have tried to solve the problem and reduce physician burnout. They are aware of the fact that burnout rates are skyrocketing. What they do not realize is that they are a part of the problem.
What is the solution to the doctor burnout problem?
For some doctors, to overcome the stress, anxiety, and depression from working at an abusive job, they quit. Quitting a bad job can be the best form of burnout prevention.
They don’t quit working as doctors. Instead, they leave the abusive job and open an ideal clinic.
Why should you care about happy doctors opening ideal clinics?
Many doctors get started in opening an ideal medical clinic by having a town hall meeting. At this meeting, the doctor asks the community members what they want in their ideal clinic.
Imagine being a member of a community that gets to choose how the local doctor’s office operates. What would you ask for if you were at that town hall meeting?
Ideal clinics belong to doctors who think outside the box. There have been clinics with goat therapy, balloon parties, tree-house visits, and swingset consultations.
But what about regular medical visits? What if you don’t care about anything but having a doctor take the time to listen to you? You don’t want to feel like you are on an assembly line when you go to the doctor.
Maybe you want to talk to your doctor about weight loss. For patients who want to lose weight and prevent type 2 diabetes, they want to talk to their doctor about their options. What they do not want is to have a rushed doctor quickly scribble out a referral to a dietician.
Many doctors establish their ideal clinics to give their patients more attention and personal care.
You may have heard of doctors who are always available when their patients need them. You may know these doctors as VIP or concierge.
Ideal clinics are also sometimes known as micropractices, or Dream Clinics. There is also a movement known as Direct Primary Care that involves clinics that may be ideal clinics.
Is a private practice a form of an ideal clinic?
Not always. An ideal clinic is a kind of private practice, but doctors practicing medicine in private practice may choose to grow their medical practice into a larger, less personal clinic. To be clear, not every doctor’s office is an ideal clinic.
Removing the barriers leads to better healthcare.
Whatever you choose to call your doctor’s ideal clinic, your doctor will be there for you. You will find that large healthcare organizations place barriers between you and your doctor. These barriers do not exist in an ideal clinic.
Most people who choose to try out an ideal clinic love it. They enjoy working with a happy doctor. After the ideal clinic experience, they do not want to go back.
When your doctor has treated you like family, how can you go back to being treated like cattle? Once you have been to an ideal clinic, you are going to want to stay.