3 Critical Things Every Physician Must Do to Avoid Commoditization

10 months ago   •   1 min read

By Ernesto Gutierrez, MD
Photo by JAFAR AHMED / Unsplash
Table of contents

If you are an employed physician, the deck is stacked against you.

The system is bent on commoditizing you by throwing you in the "provider" bag together with midlevels. All in an effort to create the perception of "equivalent care" in the eyes of patients and employers.

Even when everyone involved knows it's simply not equivalent.

The illusory truth effect is the idea that if you repeat something often enough, people will start to believe it’s true.

In this essay, I share the 3 things you must do to avoid commoditization:

1. Develop A Personal Brand

If patients don't choose you, you are a commodity.

When your main way of getting new patients is waiting for their insurance to assign them to you –as an in-network provider–, then patients are getting you, not choosing you. In their mind, you are the same as any other provider – be it a physician or a midlevel. This is what insurance companies want.

Developing your own personal brand allows you to stand out in the sea of sameness and become the specialist in your specialty.

2. Build and Nurture an Email List

Building personal relationships with your audience (potential patients or not) is how you avoid commoditization.

Like every other personal relationship, this one takes time and multiple contacts. And there's no better way of achieving this than through email. Not using email when developing a personal brand is like running a marathon in sandals. It's doable but, why would you not make it easier for yourself?

3. Create New Sources of Revenue

There is a reason why I strongly encourage every single practicing physician to become an entrepreneur.

The moment you realize you can monetize your expertise, you take your power back. When you don't need to make money from your employer or from insurance, they lose the power to bully you into accepting unfavorable conditions.

When you do these 3 things, you are in control of your financial future and no one can get between you and your patients.

And remember: you are a physician, not a provider.

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