“In medicine, we're not taught the business of medicine, but the day that you become faculty at an institution or private practice, you learn that it is a business, but yet nowhere in our training are we taught that,” says Michelle Pearlman, MD.
In this video, Michelle Pearlman, MD, and Amy Pearlman, MD, discuss the challenges they have encountered in setting up a private practice.
Michelle Pearlman, MD: There are a couple of things. One is that, throughout all of my training in 14 years, I was always at an academic institution, and you had the credentialing team, and you had the fellowship or residency program directors and all these other people who do so much behind-the-scenes work. They would say, “Submit this documentation, and we will take care of the packet.” You kind of take that for granted. There are so many things that have to happen in health care in order for you to be credentialed and be up-to-date with all the [continuing medical education] and everything that literally is constant. One of the biggest things when I left my job was trying to figure out, if I want to do procedures at an ambulatory surgical center, who do I call? I'm not just going to show up and knock on the door and say, "Hey, I'm Michelle Pearlman, I want to start doing colonoscopies at your center." You have to know people. I was fortunate in that I already had the network here, because I was already in Miami. I had people I could reach out to, and they said, "Well, I don't know, but let me find out for you." One of the biggest things is networking, and then just asking the questions. One of the biggest lessons I learned was that if someone tells you "no," or if something doesn't work out, as annoying or frustrating as that may seem, it opens up so many doors and additional opportunities that, at least for us so far, have turned out 10 times better. I thought I would leave my job and start seeing patients the next day. We're here 2 months later, and I've yet to see a patient. But it's [turned out to be a blessing] that things have happened slow and things have not turned out. Bigger and better things have actually occurred. Allowing that to happen and not get flustered has been a big lesson for me. The other thing was, we're trying to create a business from nothing. I don't have a business degree. I surround myself with people who are entrepreneurs and CEOs of major companies. So again, it goes back to building that network and getting advice, but then also understanding what sort of advice to take, and what sort of advice is just not going to work for us. Because if you ask 10 people, you're going to get 10 different opinions. [It's about] understanding, with what we're trying to build, what is going to work for us at this point in time? Lastly, in medicine, we're not taught the business of medicine, but the day that you become faculty at an institution or private practice, you learn that it is a business, but yet nowhere in our training are we taught that. We wear multiple hats here: I'm the CEO, the COO, and the CMO of our business. Amy is doing design, research, community outreach, and PR. She's also got multiple hats. It's about delegating and understanding what our strengths are. [It's also about] asking for help, because you will need help.
Amy Pearlman, MD: [It's also about] finding really good people, because we are not business women. Other people [in our situation] might have more of an interest in business and might say, "I'll take care of the payroll. I'll do the accounting." We decided for ourselves, we're not going to do that. We want to do it right. So [then it's a matter of] which companies, which people? [It's] not just reaching out to an accounting firm; which accounting firm? [It's] asking our network what their recommendations are. Our job is to continue being the best providers we can and then surround ourselves with the best people. That costs money. But we are willing to invest in that business from the ground up to do it right from the beginning, because then there's less clean-up down the road.
This transcript was edited for clarity.