In any profession, networking with those in your field is an important part of career development. Just a few benefits of connecting with like-minded professionals include:
A 2017 global study by professional social network site LinkedIn found nearly 80 percent of professionals consider business networking to be critical to career success. You may have entered pediatrics because of your intrinsic motivation to help children, teens, and their families, but you also must rely on business best practices to grow your practice and serve more people. That’s where an online community of other pediatric professionals can help. Even if you feel isolated at times, there’s always somewhere to turn to for support and resources.
One of the most valuable benefits of Office Practicum, besides its electronic medical record solution, practice management system, and pediatric billing services, is the diverse network clients gain access to. Whether you’re a pediatrician, office manager, or practice administrator, you can log on at any time and connect with a like-minded community of independent pediatric practices from around the country who are going through similar challenges.
OP’s medical director Susan Kressly, MD, FAAP, has a unique perspective on the benefits the OP Community provides and how it can help practices flourish.
Kressly says pediatricians are used to being the “red-headed step-children of medicine” for a couple of reasons. Because pediatric practices tend to generate less money compared to other healthcare providers, she says pediatricians fail to garner as much attention in healthcare systems compared to physicians like neurosurgeons or cardiothoracic surgeons. As a result, health systems may view pediatricians as an afterthought when designing innovative ways to reduce total cost of care, even though pediatricians play such a vital role in overall population health.
“Trying to make sure that a 4-year-old gets their checkup doesn’t necessarily provide a significant amount of cost savings to the system,” says Kressly. “But what I like to say is that we’re the future. If you don’t invest in the kids and set them up to be cared for and healthy, then we all lose when the population ages into adulthood.”
Pediatricians must work together to figure out how to solve problems and demonstrate the value they bring to communities and society as a whole.
“We have to think outside of the box to demonstrate the value that we have, to get attention now,” Kressly says. “When you are in a community of just pediatricians who are solving similar problems, together we have a louder voice, and we creatively figure out how we can demonstrate, in our own communities and health systems, the value we bring by giving good care to kids. It is empowering and exciting to be connected with people from all over the county who think like you and are trying to solve similar problems.”
Independent pediatric practices have similar challenges but sometimes feel like islands unto themselves, having to come up with solutions to problems on their own. One of the goals of the OP Community is to ensure that practices have a place to share ideas, develop solutions, and mobilize to advocate for change.
“When you get innovative thought leaders with various experience together, we challenge each other to think differently and innovate,” Kressly says. “Pediatric practices are not averse to sharing knowledge—whether it’s strategies for increasing revenue or how to successfully run a flu clinic. This is what makes the OP Community so powerful. Yes, you can get your questions answered, but you’re also exposed to new ideas and ways of thinking about the clinical and financial aspects of your practice.”
No matter where you are in your career journey, there are always people and organizations that can help you progress. Learning never stops, and the OP Community connects members to some of the best clinical and financial minds in the profession.
“There are many OP users who are part of pediatric leadership organizations, and having those connections to leaders in your profession is helpful,” Kressly says. “We’re often at the table when decisions are made about what we should advocate in the federal government for child health. Knowing we’re at that table is also empowering for all of the user base. Everyone gets to benefit from that, which is incredibly valuable.”
OP Community members are often eager and willing to help other members connect to resources, whether it’s a professional overarching organization like the national MGMA or a regional resource like a state AAP chapter. A diverse community of pediatricians and practice administrators also means members are constantly pushed to improve their practices.
Burnout is extremely common for physicians, including pediatricians. A Mayo Clinic study of 7,000 physicians found that more than 54 percent of participants experienced at least one symptom of burnout a year. One way to combat burnout is to find a support system, like the OP Community.
“Pediatricians by and large love what they do, but medicine is full of burnout and people who are disgruntled with the system,” Kressly says. “One of the ways to mitigate physician burnout is to have a safe place to unload. Having colleagues to relate to in a way you might not be able to in your own community is helpful.”
Kressly says for most people who practice medicine, something happens every day that validates why they get up in the morning and go to the office. Being able to connect with other people who love what they do can remind pediatricians why their role is so important.
Also, for pediatricians who work in remote or rural locations or who feel isolated, a community like OP’s makes them remember they’re not practicing alone.
“We’re a sharing, supportive community that solves business, clinical, and payment problems, collectively,” Kressly says. “It’s really a supportive community that understands who you are because they are where you are.”
OP is so much more than a healthcare technology provider. All clients get to be a part of the OP Community, where they can form valuable relationships, reinforce the worth of pediatricians in the healthcare system, share ideas and resources, gain support, and learn ways to improve their practices.