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Helen M. Torok, M.D., is medical director for the Dermatology & Surgery Center at Trillium Creek. A noted expert in medical and cosmetic dermatology, she also is a Dermatology Times Editorial Advisor.
The challenge is to select the information and technology that is promising and practical.
In certain situations the enemy of great is good. The challenge is to exercise wise judgment in knowing the most appropriate response for the situation in which you find yourself.
There is nothing wrong with good. But circumstances will arise that will force you to decide if it is preferable to change or not to change. You will be challenged to improve and change by one of several forces. These include changing reimbursement; your patients who fail to improve on standard therapeutic regimens; and competitive pressures of new, innovative treatments offered by your peers.
To offset the decline in insurance reimbursement, it is vital to reassess how the duties are distributed in your practice. Just because you have always done something does not mean that is the best way. Make sure the work you are doing is the work only you can do based on your training and expertise. Learn how to delegate some of that work. You will find the challenge of practicing medicine quite different from the challenge of training physician extenders to treat your patients in the way that you would. The time spent training your staff will yield benefits for your patients and your bottom line.
Reach for new options
The second dilemma occurs when the standard therapeutics that you have used for years prove ineffective for some patients.
This will stimulate you to search for new options that were not part of your previous training. The challenge is to select the information and technology that is promising and practical. With the explosion of new technology, this task can be daunting. Opting to learn and master new technologies and staying abreast of innovations can be exciting and rewarding for you and your practice.
We must admit that physicians are as competitive by nature as is our general society. When your peers change and adapt their practices you must step back and assess whether this change is good for your practice. You need to recognize that you alone do not need to create every new idea, and that every new idea is not necessarily a good idea.
You will find yourself happiest with your practice when you achieve a balance that is good for your individual personality and your practice. Always strive to find the ideal balance between the comfortable and familiar with those things that extend you beyond your previous zone of comfort.
Helen M. Torok, M.D.