It’s Time to Trust Your Trusted Healthcare Vendors, Advisors

October 18, 2011

Why do you work with trusted vendors and trusted advisors for years and not even consider the advice they may offer?

Trust is a very scary word. It can make you feel vulnerable, naïve, and even not as smart as you like to perceive yourself. Trust can also be one of the best ways to get good advice, a leg up on the competition, and the overall best deals. It all depends on who you trust and why you trust them.

Why do I bring this up? I have seen many doctors make the wrong moves for their practices because “My buddy said…” I have also heard horror stories from other supposed “trusted advisors” of doctors because their clients told them “My buddy said…” I totally support getting as much information as possible before making decisions. I do not support “knee-jerk” reactions that would make a doctor do what a buddy does when the two practices are not alike and very likely the problems the physicians are trying to correct are different.

My question to physicians: Why do you work with trusted vendors and trusted advisors for years and not even consider the advice they may offer?

I have been told that vendors and advisors are just trying to sell the doctor the latest gimmick that will benefit the vendor more than the doctor. Seriously? Let’s look at two examples.

Your billing company has been letting you know through various means that you should start looking at the different EHR programs and they have some choices that might work quite well for you. They explain they have looked at quite a few and the parameters they chose to use when reviewing the programs. Is it possible that this particular vendor, with whom you have been working for over 10 years, is actually looking to help you better your practice? Okay, if you don’t believe that they are doing all the legwork and recommending a product because of altruistic reasons; let’s look at how it may benefit them. In this scenario, the billing company charges a percentage of collected dollars. Does it not make sense, then, that they would recommend something that would actually help you to make more money as that would help them to make more money?

Your buddy, who does not have a relationship with that billing company and may or may not be doing as well as you (he just talks a good game), has a different office process that may impact the choices made for an EHR. He has a different set of employees who have different skills than your employees, his specialty may be different than yours, and his types of charges may be different. Not all practices are alike; in fact, I could even say that no two practices are exactly alike. Therefore, the infamous comparison “apples to oranges” does not work.

Another example would be your accountant. You have been with this accountant for a decade and your financial picture looks good. Yet, you hear from a buddy that his accountant turned him on to a really good investment deal and he’s making an outrageous profit with that deal. Before you jump to that investment, wouldn’t it make sense to talk to your trusted advisor as well as possibly someone who is knowledgeable about investments and get the full picture?

Many physicians are very busy people. And, as such, want to limit their time on things they don’t think are that important. Most physicians tend to, thankfully, focus on clinical issues versus business issues. So, if you are relying on your buddy, is there a good chance that he relied on information from his buddy and the information is not good fit for you?

I’m not saying not to listen to your buddy - sometimes that is a great resource for a physician. I am, however, saying if you have had a good, valuable relationship with a vendor/trusted advisor for a period of time, I suggest strongly that you use your relationships to make sure you are getting the best solution for your problem and your practice.

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