Making Your Business Antifragile

December 16, 2019

In the book Antifragile, author Nassim Taleb points out that there’s no word that describes the opposite of fragile.

“Fragile” describes something that is injured when shaken.

Something that is resilient isn’t the actual opposite of fragile — it isn’t made better when shaken — it’s just able to withstand being shaken.

But antifragile, in Taleb-speak, describes something that is actually improved when subjected to stress.

We’re at a point in time where there is increasing complexity and change in healthcare and its regulation. Depending on what happens in the 2020 election, we could be heading deep down the drain of healthcare for all, whatever that means. Would that be Medicare for all or VA for all or even something akin to that existing in Great Britain, the National Health Service, in which private practice continues to exist as a separate track. Who knows, any of those are possible.

Is it possible to apply the concept of antifragility to a medical group or a healthcare business? I’m not sure. But, certainly, there are things that you can do now to put your group or other healthcare venture into a better position, should one of those changes occur.

You can use my concept of the Scenario Survey Process™ (read about it here) to develop potential future scenarios and then to devise a strategy that will help you not only survive, but thrive, in as many of those futures as possible.

For example, consider a group or a practice that is currently dependent upon a single hospital or a single referral source. Those relationships are certain to become far more stressed in coming months. They are fragile.

Through the use of the Scenario Survey Process™ the group or practice can examine potential scenarios such as no change in the current regulatory regime, a scenario in which there is only a government option, or a scenario in which there is both a government option and a private option. Those are only examples and many more scenarios could be created.

How then could you begin to best hedge against any such scenario? What relationships can you create and to which facilities might you expand to not only devise a softer landing, but perhaps build a better launching pad no matter what happens?

I don’t have the one, simple solution to this. Nobody does. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start thinking about it today.

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