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Physicians, APs: Does the Healthcare Leader Embrace Change?

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Here’s an obvious statement: Change is inevitable.

As obvious as that statement may seem, however, you might be surprised at the number of healthcare leaders who are trying to avoid many of the changes that have taken place in the industry over the last decade. In some cases, it’s not so much denial as it is an unwillingness to break with the traditions of the past.

As you go on interviews and receive job offers, be aware of the leadership’s attitude toward change. Are they resistant to it? Are they making token changes to keep the government at bay and to secure reimbursements or do they have a strategic vision for converting their organization from volume-based to value-based?

Most important, do they have an open mind to out-of-the-box ideas? Are they willing to think in new ways or are they just too mired in the old ways?

Dr. Richard Merkin, founder of Heritage Provider Network, which is headquartered in Marina del Ray, Calif., is an example of a leader who is always looking for new ways to think about healthcare.

Dr. Merkin, whom I interviewed earlier this year, advises healthcare leaders against dismissing seemingly off-the-wall ideas.

“Frequently a breakthrough idea today was a crazy idea yesterday,” he said.

He also urges them to embrace change in an ambitious way. Instead of shooting to be a little bit better than what they are now, shoot to be 10 times better, he said. Yes, you may fail, but the chances are you’ve stretched yourself to such a degree that your organization is now three times better than when you began. This establishes a solid, progressive foundation upon which you can then build.

“Healthcare is attracting people from different industries, and people are finding it intellectually challenging,” Dr. Merkin said. “I believe there’ll be a convergence of technology. I think the world will be different. I think the science will be different. I think the payers may be different. And with the convergence of technology, I think this will improve the quality of healthcare not only for the United States, but for the world.”

As physicians and advanced practitioners who are looking for jobs, you’re probably agreeing wholeheartedly with everything Dr. Merkin is saying. The challenge at hand is finding a leader who is simpatico to the way you think. How can you find that kind of a leader?

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