Edition: February 2009 - Vol 17 Number 02
Author: Brian Taylor
As we move forward in 2009 we face many historic firsts. We have just inaugurated our first African-American president, who won his party’s nomination over what would have been our first female presidential candidate. He inherits an economy battered by a series of nearly unprecedented events - a virtual perfect storm of financial and political mis-steps and miscalculations.
In all of this, the media stirs the pot with doomsday scenarios on a seemingly hourly basis. While the economic news is not good, we accomplish nothing by wringing our hands, and even less by waving the white flag and accepting that it will be at least 2011 before the sun will re-appear.
We all know people who have felt the pain of these turbulent times; those who have lost their jobs and/or their homes. The breadth of the economic impact touches virtually every industry and sector. I certainly wouldn’t want to be in the car business or in the financial sector these days. I wouldn’t want to be a builder or in real estate sales.
We are blessed to work in healthcare, perhaps the only sector that economists view as a growth arena. And while companies in our industry face daunting challenges, I suggest that we address them from an offensive rather than defensive stance. I see some encouraging signs on the horizon.
Consider that everything we read indicates that (like it or not) we are going to throw a nearly $1 trillion stimulus package at the economy. Chances are good that $300 billion of that will be in the form of tax breaks that will reach many small businesses. There is also much talk of a sizable investment being made in accelerating the adoption of EMRs in practices across this country. If this becomes a reality, it bodes well for many of us. Add these possibilities with the mood of the country, and this administration to greatly expand access to healthcare, and I believe there is a ray of sunshine peeking through the darkness.
In recent conversations with sales reps on the frontline, I am encouraged rather than discouraged about the prospects ahead. Physicians are still seeing patients and certainly need supplies, arguably in even greater quantities as the “stress factor” creates more visits to the doctor. As stock markets and investment opportunities remain uncertain and volatile, physicians who still have money need counsel as to where to put their money. Smart reps provide them with an investment safe harbor with revenue-enhancing equipment and procedures that ensure the doctor a protected return. Most importantly, those reps that have provided those solutions will have earned unfailing loyalty from those customers.
So much of any economy is predicated on confidence. It is a key element in any recovery we may hope for. I believe it is incumbent on those in leadership positions on a national level, as well as in our industry, to move forward with prudent yet positive strategies to stabilize and grow the sector that represents more than 15 percent of our economy. Let us be the rudder that steers this ship back on course.