What To Consider When Choosing a Practice Setting

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When you were first dreaming about becoming a doctor, there is a good chance that most of the dream was just about helping and healing people without much thought to where it would occur.  Now that your dream has become a reality, you are probably amazed at how many options you have regarding a practice setting.  You have worked extremely hard to get where you are, so it is important to choose a practice setting that fits your personality and gives you the best opportunity to live out your dream.  Let’s look at several the things you should consider when choosing a practice setting.

Market Demographics

Many physicians who grew up in a small town or a rural community want to practice medicine in a rural setting.  Others who grew up in the city may just want to spend more time enjoying nature in wide-open spaces.  While there may not be a large variety of practice settings to choose from, many doctors favor the pace and lifestyle benefits that a rural community can provide.

Physicians who choose to practice in urban or more metropolitan areas will have many more practice options to choose from. In larger metro areas, doctors will experience more growth opportunities, higher patient volumes, and also have more access to support than those in rural communities.

Employment Model

Most recently, the trend for physicians is to leave their self-employed practice setting for a hospital or large system setting.  While some physicians are considering a return to private practice, the overall demand for practicing physicians is driving up the number of opportunities available in hospital settings and large private practice partnerships.

Many physicians prefer working in a hospital setting as a way to ensure a stable income with greater opportunities to earn bonuses and negotiate more favorable work hours. In a partnership setting, physicians are bridging the gap between being self-employed and the stability of a hospital setting. As a partner or at a minimum on a partnership track, physicians have a greater say in how the practice operates, fostering patient relationships, and contributing to the workplace culture.

Type of Organization

Much of your decision on the type of practice setting you want to work will be based on whether or not you want to work in a large or small setting. Obviously, if you want to be self-employed, you will be working in a smaller practice environment. If you choose to work in a large health system environment, you will have the luxury of having a stable flow of patients as well as access to a plethora of referring physicians.

If you are a specialist, you may want to practice in a single-specialty group that is independent or affiliated with a larger health system.  Others choose to practice in a larger group that has multiple specialties included within the organization.  This allows patients to have easier access to different specialists when necessary.

Working in a clinic setting may be the perfect choice for doctors who want to work in rural or underserved communities. Clinics typically offer a stable schedule with regular hours and even weekends off!  A downfall to working in a clinic environment is usually lower compensation and a lack of growth potential.

No one needs to tell you that a career as a physician is both rewarding and difficult.  The hard part of the equation is the main reason why it is so important for you to choose the right practice setting so you can achieve everything you dreamed of before becoming a doctor.  Finding a setting that affords you the opportunity to succeed and in an environment that fits your personal culture and values will lead to a long and personally healthy career.

Is it time for you to explore other opportunities and take your career to the next level?  Working with a Jackson Physician Search recruitment professional can be the jump start you need.  Contact our team of dedicated, industry experts today!

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Lifting the Regulatory Burden on Physicians

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The regulatory burden on physicians and others on the front lines of healthcare is intensifying. A new, comprehensive study echoes growing frustration with the amount of time providers spend pushing paper rather than treating patients.

According to the Medical Group Management Association’s 2018 Survey, an overwhelming 86% of respondents reported an increase in regulatory burden over the past 12 months. An even larger percentage (94%) said a reduction in regulatory burden would allow more resources to be allocated toward patient care.

The MGMA report is further evidence that regulatory overload has been mounting. Previously, the 2016 Jackson Healthcare Physician Trends Survey, revealed that 60% of physicians reported more administrative work under the Affordable Care Act, resulting in less time with patients. Medscape has reported that 57% of physicians spend more than 10 hours per week on paperwork, and numerous studies have found that administrative work contributes to physician stress and burnout.

This burden comes with a cost. An analysis by the American Hospital Association shows that providers spend nearly $39 billion a year solely on administrative activities related to regulatory compliance. An average-sized hospital dedicates 59 full-time equivalents (FTEs) to regulatory compliance. one-quarter of those employees are physicians, nurses and other health professionals who would otherwise be caring for patients.

Impact on Physicians in the Future

The administrative overload makes the challenge of recruiting and retaining physicians more daunting. According to a recent survey, regulations are among the top causes of physician burnout. And, 54% said increased administrative burden contributes to the changes in healthcare that are likely to lead them to retire over the next five years. Seven out of 10 are unwilling to recommend healthcare as a profession, adding to the concerns of young people about entering medicine.

What You Can Do to Lessen the Overload

Here are the steps you can take to counteract trends that may prompt physicians to choose early retirement or cause young people to avoid medicine because of concerns that paperwork will impact work/life balance or detract from patient care:

However, there are steps you can take to counteract these trends:

  • Embrace the role of physician assistants and nurse practitioners in your practices.
  • Implement telemedicine solutions to reach more patients more efficiently
  • Utilize clinical scribes to facilitate documentation, while the provider focuses on the patient
  • Evaluate your electronic health record systems to ensure they are compatible with workflow
  • Guard against burnout by making work/life balance a reality and offering interventions, as needed
  • Educate elected officials about the impact on patients, healthcare workers and the community

Use your Voice and Vote

With healthcare representing the largest economic driver in many communities, administrators and trustees have access to their congressional representatives and the responsibility to place the issue of regulatory relief on the top of their agendas.

As voters, everyone – administrators, providers, staff and patients – can make our voices heard at the ballot box. Take an opportunity to examine your congressional representatives’ position on these issues and support those who understand the severity of the burden and act on regulatory relief.

While the wheels of government turn slowly, it is important to listen to physicians and other providers and manage those things under you control. Understanding their daily experience and frustrations will lead to solutions that maximize patient care time, ensure they are doing work “at the top of their license,” and encourage committed individuals to choose – and stay in – medicine as the satisfying profession it is meant to be.

Contact us to explore how you can position your organization to find and keep physicians in a satisfying practice.

 

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The Engagement Gap

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Physician alignment and satisfaction are critical to recruitment and retention. This study identifies a significant physician engagement gap and challenges the assumption that employing physicians is the only solution to clinical alignment.

The Physician Engagement Gap

Physicians aren’t as aligned as executives think (and what executives can do about it).

Jackson Healthcare sought to explore the current state of alignment and engagement among physicians who are employed. Based on our extensive secondary and primary research with hospitals and physicians, employed physicians are disengaged in large numbers. There has not been a positive change in engagement in the past decade. And more alarmingly, hospital executives perceive physicians to be more engaged than they actually are. Even though physicians are proud to associate themselves with the hospital for which they work, they don’t trust their hospital executives employers, and they are not involved in clinical and administrative decision-making processes. Physicians don’t want to follow a clinical recipe when it comes to patient care. They want to be respected for their expertise.

In order to achieve the alignment hospital executive are seeking, medical schools and hospitals must do more to prepare, involve and transform the role of physicians as stakeholders, decisionmakers, and leaders. Cultural changes are necessary in the hospital environment if physicians are to make decisions in the best interest of the health system vs. a sole focus on their individual practices.

This report explores the current acquisition and employment trends and the effect on physician alignment.

Acquisition

The days when physicians graduated from medical school, completed their residency, and hung out a shingle in private practice have come to a close. And physicians who began their careers in private practice are less likely to retire there.

Physician ownership of private practices is trending downward while hospital employment of physicians and acquisition of physician practices is on the rise. Hospitals are acquiring physician practices in large numbers and younger physicians prefer to begin their careers as employees rather than enter private practice. In the early to mid-1990s, hospitals acquired physician practices in great numbers. That trend reversed in the late 1990s/early 2000s. According to VMG Health the sharp drop in hospital acquisitions of physician practices was fueled by:

  • physicians’ frustration with hospital management practices
  • hospitals’ frustration with physicians’ lack of motivation and productivity
  • the dissolution of many physician practice management companies and integrated delivery networks

Currently, hospitals are acquiring practices in numbers similar to the 1990s. In the past decade, the percentage of hospital-owned physician practices has tripled from about 25% in 2002 to almost 75% in 2011. The percentage of physicians in solo practice has decreased from 41% in 1983 to 18% in 2012.

Read the rest of this study by clicking the download button.

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