September 21, 2011

Group Practices Not for All Doctors

It is good to hear this from the medical community. With the decline in the number of primary care physicians, some wanting to retire, some retiring, some leaving the rat race for concierge practice, and few new additions the the profession, it is good to see that some doctors are again heading for their own practice. It is unknown at this time whether shared medical appointments (SMAs) will work for these doctors, but hopefully a few will try.

Some doctors are not meant for working in groups. This is a real problem because many physicians simply do not know how or want to get along with their fellow doctors. When doctors are fresh out of residency, they are ill prepared to work as part of a group because of the competitive nature of their training. If they are in a group practice, compensation is based partly or entirely on productivity which leads to a treadmill type of practice with no place for true caring for the patient. This dismays and deludes many doctors who actually want to serve the patients.

Multispeciality groups are not working either as many of the specialists want their portion and the primary care group is often left on the short side of compensation. This creates more tension within these groups and disputes about how the funds are distributed.

Other problems include bureaucracy, which many doctors feel limits their effectiveness and practice and others resent those who have authority in situations that they can handle or where bureaucracy sets limits to avoid certain situations. Many doctors have been in their own practice, but now are being forced to consolidate and they resent being told what they can and can't do – in other words they find it difficult to stop being the boss.

Another dislike of many of the younger physicians is they expect to have a life outside the office and when they are on call – both they and many older physicians do not like the interruptions and resent that they may not know the particulars about a patient. It is these “cold calls” that they feel do not serve the needs of the patients or themselves. This causes conflicts because they feel that if the patient if one of theirs, they should be the one in control.

There are other problems that are minor, but you may read the article and the complete discussion here.

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