As the business of medicine grows more complex, and undergoes rapid change, it’s almost impossible for one physician to cover all the bases. I have always suggested to my clients that they look at their practices as multi-faceted entities, and that they break down the most important pieces—contracting, HR, patient satisfaction, hospital integration, etc.—into silos, assigning responsibility for each. Spread the responsibilities, hopefully matching each silo to the interests of the physician. This helps create strong group leaders. Even the smallest groups should bifurcate responsibilities and set a schedule for reporting meetings as well as a mechanism to deal with urgent matters.
I’m not a big fan of buzz words, but when I ran across this one—intrapreneur—I was intrigued. As organizations have grown larger, intrapreneurs—persons within a company who promote innovation within the organization—have become the new movers and shakers, and company executives are on the hunt for this new type of employee, for people who can lead on important internal issues and, where possible, effect internal change that’s positive and, in many cases, ground-breaking.
In my work with new docs, especially those coming right out of residency or fellowship, I tend to see three distinct types. There’s the new physician that just wants to practice medicine, and not be bothered by operational issues. There’s the new doc that is only interested in those operational matters that have a direct impact on his or her bottom line. Finally, and more rarely, there’s the intrapreueur, the one that looks at a bigger picture of healthcare and is looking analytically at their practice, the group’s practice, and the immediate healthcare environment, finding ways to make very productive changes that benefit their practice, group, patients, and hospital.