Tue, 29 November 2022
I had a little BrainStorm Session with my Demographic Colleagues about the Mid-Term Election. Most of us came to the same General Observations. One of the big takeaways is that experts should really be cautious about claiming to know a great deal about the future of demographics in the U.S., we just don't have all the answers we thought we had. That does not sound hopeful, but it is true.
These very smart people noted that there were certain trends in current demographics that they would like to ignore. That is what this session is about. The decline in the birthrate is especially important in our discussions. It seems strange that the mainstream media is ignoring the recent changes in the job market. The housing market, especially in the single-family, owner-occupied sector is largely ignored in the national media. We assume this is due to the fact that these reporters are not living in these communities. They are not concerned with consumer debt because they are affluent. Most reporters who own homes are on a fixed-rate mortgage. In fact, the important news stories touch them hardly at all.
This episode is an acknowledgment that there are some important trends and news stories that you hear little about that are not on the elites' radar screen but will be quite important to doctors who want to establish practices.
Wed, 16 November 2022
This episode has so much detail, we do not have a "Short Version." I had to be complete.
I define the differences between these types of sites. In a nutshell, it is important to make the distinction early on that it is more than population size and growth rate. The rural sites are not necessarily more or less desirable. The biggest difference is in population density. Rural sites are more spread out. They have more homogeneity in their lifestyles, In each practice-community area, there are different liabilities and benefits. I mention these in the narration. Demographers are generally cool (at least for now) on urban locations. They are losing population in the post-Covid world as costs, including taxes and other business expenses rise. Suburban locations seem to be the least attractive for reasons I will discuss in the episodes.
I am not saying all practices have to locate in certain neighborhoods. It is certainly true that suburbs carry far less risk. Rural practice sites seem to be struggling to get a sufficient patient base, especially with the rising costs of fuel. So we have here a balance between ideal practice locations, their benefits, and liabilities. This episode contrasts all of these.
Wed, 9 November 2022
These episodes represent a word of caution regarding your source of demographic information on data and analysis. There are lots of amateur demographers who have entered the field recently. True, they may be well-meaning. These "newbies" are usually getting rehashed" data from a source within the Federal or State bureaucracy]that purports to tell you about changes in demographics. It isn't necessarily true that the data is wrong. The biggest danger to doctors, consultants, and brokers is that they often make claims about the viability, and risks of practice site analysis.
I refer to them as "amateurs" because the analysis must be based on their knowledge of the professions they are measuring. For example, one must know if the distribution of providers in a suburban area is at, above, or below the norms for that type of practice being considered. Urgent Care practices have different thresholds of success than dental practice, for example. A practice that relies upon internal versus network referrals has different measurements of success.
In short, knowing how demographics relate to the profession you are undertaking is not simple and requires experience with the population AND the measurements that will matter.
Beware trusting demographers who are new, inexperienced, or generalists. You cannot afford this kind of mistake.
Wed, 2 November 2022
As spaces for ideal practices become more difficult to locate (not to mention more crowded and expensive) finding a place that will serve all patient-bases is a growing challenge. Rather than locate the perfect place, doctors are encouraged to create practices that will meet the needs of more "specialized and specific" market segments. Thus, it makes sense to consider a "niche" practice."
It is not so much that the doctors have to find an "edgy" approach to medicine and dentistry. They only need to find a patient population that is large enough and identifiable to pay the bills. In this episode, we consider market segments such as culture, language, nation of origin, demographics (age, education, income for example) or psychographics (lifestyle and "values") that would not necessarily be one the radar screen of all practices. As an example, Armenians, different religions, political or professional groups would work well. If the local population has these people in sufficient numbers, a niche could be identified and the practice can proceed to promote its services to them. Additionally media consumption (advertising) could be planned that would meet their needs exactly. Granted, not all clinical needs would have to vary. Still, they could be sifted to meet their needs and interests.
In the end, healthcare practice may be able to thrive by identifying the common interests of a very specific segment of the population rather than trying to be "all things to all people.