From the August 2011 issue of Benefits Selling Magazine • Subscribe!

More docs leaving private practice for health systems

U.S. physicians continue to sell their private practices and seek employment with health care systems, according to a new Accenture survey. By 2013, less than one-third of physicians are expected to remain truly independent.

Accenture reports the rate of independent physicians employed by health systems will grow by an annual 5 percent over three years. “Health reform is challenging the entire system to deliver improved care through insight driven health,” says Kristin Ficery, senior executive at Accenture Health.

“We see an increasing number of physicians leaving private practice to join hospital systems, which will force all stakeholders to revise and refine their business models, product offerings and service strategies.” This change will require hospitals to determine how to retain and recruit the correct mix of physicians, especially in high-growth service lines, including cardiovascular care, orthopedics, cancer care and radiology, Accenture reports.

Patients will increasingly move to large health systems, as opposed to the current trend of visiting doctors in private, small practice settings. Physicians surveyed said they are increasingly attracted to the benefits offered by hospital-based employment opportunities. They cited benefits including relief from administrative responsibilities; greater access to leading-edge health care IT tools, facilities and equipment; a more manageable work week and more stability.

Accenture’s “Physician Employment Report” was a result of in-person and phone interviews of physicians and hospitals from September to November 2010, with analysis completed in 2011.

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