Running a private practice can feel a bit double-edged sometimes. You are part of an enormous community across the Country, with years of training and experience, and yet a solo business owner with a never-ending to-do list, building and maintaining a reputable brand and delivering services to those in need, whilst also trying to be financially secure. It is also a double-edged sword at a strategic level, as technology is deployed to strengthen access and choice as well as efficacy, and the sector tries to respond to financial pressures for both the payer and the provider.
Does the health sector value the private practitioner?
Some interesting experiences are surfacing as for example insurers are pressuring to return to a lower pay rate for an online session. Pressuring for increased administration, such as frequency of invoicing. Pressuring as they satisfy demand by directing referrals to the least qualified available and therefore the lower paid. We are also seeing Social Prescribing on the increase but reaching Gyms and Commercial weight loss services more easily than accessing the independent sector more qualified to help. Do you feel seen, and accessible?
Does the health tech sector value private practitioners?
This is a fast growth area, UK Tech Nation report that 10k jobs were being advertised by Healthtech scaleups in early 2021. There are about 370k health-related apps available online according to Orcha, who have reviewed nearly 5,000 and found many poor examples, including:
- A diabetes management app offering complex medical support without any back-up from experts
- A physiotherapy app offering exercise plans without any visible input from professionals
Closer to private practice specifically, online directories promise an influx of clients charging commission or membership fees when actually the practitioner has little or no control over their position in the directory OR the frequency they are shown to potential clients. This is especially important when people are searching less and less on geography, and more and more on specialty, Google sais the trend it still going up. Do you feel part of the evolution of services that is underway?
So, will technology overrun the Private Practitioner?
It doesn’t need to. There is a growing number of UK based, UK Backed businesses that want to support the human connection that is the essence of successful therapeutic relationships. Yes, we do suggest some change, and with that comes huge potential. Technology has the capability to revolutionise private practice. The place that independent health practitioners hold is trusted and unique through human contact, lived experience, empathy and trust developed over decades of training, these relationships should be cherished.
4 reasons why technology can just be the thing that private practice needs:
- Demand for health and wellbeing services by people has never been higher. People need good solutions. Google trends show a 400 % increase from the Pandemic, and I believe it will continue to rise. Technology can help to quickly match the problem and to a solution, and that solution can be YOU.
- Practitioners can now reach more training than ever before. Learning new skills and developing new services, in collaboration or learned outright. Use online connections to offer aligned skills to your clients. Assist your peers, rather than just competing.
- Skills and Trust. What a combination! Digital can enhance client relationships, they last a longer time period because communication is flexible and overall the Client has much more control, where for example sessions can be more private and/or more inclusive accessing online. These connections can be deeper, generating more revealing participation, and therefore leading to better results.
- A Unique Selling Proposition awaits! Geography was always a restriction. No-one wants to meet a local client in the supermarket or at the school gate! The choice of reaching more of one type of client, rather than having to work more generally. Also being able to more easily find and collaborate with other professionals across the UK and internationally and consider the new services that could be offered to each other as well as directly to clients. Consider a Multi-disciplinary approach with little overhead, and safe practical communication for everyone.
Its messy right now for everyone, 10k practitioners shouldn’t need to be registered on the same platform that finds a plumber! But we are working hard to lead in building a strong foundation for private practice to flourish for years to come.
From now on your future in health will always be digital.