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mon t m e d s o c .c om

Strong Practice Leaders
Understand the Competition


ractice managers must be keenly
aware of what competing
practices are doing as well as
practices outside of their catchment
area. Practice management requires
a firm focus on the competition;
identifying its strengths and
vulnerabilities is crucial. Since managing a successful practice
requires decision and action based on situational awareness,
identification of your competition's expectations and
preparations is also important.
Because the healthcare landscape is changing so rapidly,
accurate and timely information regarding what competing
practices are doing is a prerequisite for success. It is said that
Field Marshal Erwin Rommel (an intelligent German WWII
commander dubbed the "Desert Fox") once declared, "It is not
that one general is more brilliant or experienced than the other;
it is a question of which general has a better appreciation of the
This is why maintaining the knowledge of your competition
is a key function of effective practice management. To be clear,
practice management is about making and executing decisions,
but a market analysis can help support a smart decision-making
What is a market analysis?
A market analysis is not just a product, but also a process.
A market analysis seeks to identify and evaluate existing
conditions and capabilities, estimate possible competitive
courses of action, and assist in the development of your
practice's course of action.
Gathering information
Information gathered during the course of managing a
practice is essential to the development of a timely and accurate
market analysis. Indeed all staff members are involved in
information gathering in one way or another and thus their
knowledge should be tapped in order to better shape the
market picture. Aside from gleaning information from your
own staff, turning to your professional colleagues is certainly
another great trusted source. Beyond those two avenues, you

may want to consider linking up with a qualified consultant.
These individuals have access to multiple markets, associations,
networks and resources (perhaps even your competition).
Additionally, they also can prepare a detailed analysis based on
your particular specialty and service line and can more easily
pulse the market due to their independent status.
Interpreting the information
Once you have obtained the information necessary to build
a picture of the competitive landscape, you are confronted with
other challenges. Most importantly, you must properly interpret
the information. Many mistakes in market analyses are not the
result of a failure to collect the correct information, but rather
a failure to discern the correct meaning from the information
Admittedly, any assessment of the competition's intentions
is ultimately an estimate. While a good market analysis can
identify the possibilities and probabilities, there will always be
an element of uncertainty in these estimates.
However, when properly focused and given adequate
time and resources, a market analysis can come close to
meeting these standards. It is important to note though that
practices operate in a healthcare environment characterized
by uncertainty. Uncertainty is also a fundamental attribute of
competition. So, even if the correct information is obtained,
there is no guarantee that it will be interpreted correctly or that
it will not change.
Gaps in our knowledge of the competition are a natural and
unavoidable characteristic of operating within the healthcare
industry. We must remember though that a competent market
analysis can help reduce some of that uncertainty and help pave
the way for strategic planning and business operations within
your practice.
Nick Hernandez, MBA, FACHE, is the CEO and founder of
ABISA, LLC, a consultancy specializing in strategic growth
initiatives for physician practices. He can be contacted at

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