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Accenture Outlook: Adapting to a new model of physician employment

Accenture Outlook: Adapting to a new model of physician employment

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Published by Accenture
Increasing numbers of physicians are seeking employment directly with hospitals rather than remaining in private practice. This trend has major implications for all players in the healthcare ecosystem.
Increasing numbers of physicians are seeking employment directly with hospitals rather than remaining in private practice. This trend has major implications for all players in the healthcare ecosystem.

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Categories:Types, Business/Law
Published by: Accenture on Sep 26, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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05/18/2012

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Most Baby Boomers in the United States came of agein an era of healthcare when it was not uncommonfor physicians to own their own practices, work longhours and treat their patients—often singlehandedly—from birth into adulthood. That time has passed. Anumber of factors, including healthcare reform andwork-life balance issues, are causing an increasingnumber of physicians with private groups to sell theirpractices or seek employment directly with hospitals.For their part, hospitals are aggressively acquiringphysicians in order to remain competitive.The implications of this trend go well beyond thephysicians and hospitals—and patients—themselves.Over the coming years, medical device firms, health-care IT enterprises and pharmaceutical companies willsee their target customers shift away from individual,self-employed physicians or physician-owned practicestoward hospitals and health systems. This shift willrequire new ways of segmenting customers as well asfresh strategies for marketing and distributing prod-ucts and services toward larger corporate purchasers.
End of the independent physician?
A recent study from the New England Journal of Medicine found that the number of physicians whoare “truly independent” has been declining at a rateof about 2 percent since the turn of the millennium.Accenture analysis predicts that the decline will reach5 percent annually by 2013 (see chart). By that point,less than one-third of US physicians will remain trulyindependent. One physician recruitment firm notesthat 51 percent of the positions it filled in the pastyear were for hospitals, up from 14 percent eightyears ago. And even a growing share of the jobs thecompany filled in private practices included incomeguarantees from hospitals.This move toward hospital-based employmentprovides a number of important benefits to manyphysicians:• Reduced administrative responsibilitiesBetter access to leading-edge healthcare IT tools,facilities and equipmentStability in a business environment made uncertainby developments such as payment reformGenerally shorter and more predictable hours anda more manageable call schedule
Hospitals: Benefits and risks
For hospitals worried about physician shortages,employing doctors can help lock in expertise andboost patient volumes and revenues in high-growthservice lines, including cardiovascular care, orthope-dics, cancer care and radiology.However, hospitals also face a number of criticalrisks as they move toward more direct employmentof physicians. First, the finances are not always rosy.Hospitals can lose $200,000 or more per year over thefirst three years of employing physicians as doctors
Outlook
Point of View
August 2011, No. 2
Dr. Andrew A. Ziskind
isa senior executive in theAccenture Health industrygroup.andrew.a.ziskind@accenture.com
Kristin L. Ficery
is a seniorexecutive in the AccentureHealth industry group.kristin.l.ficery@accenture.com
Richard N. Fu
is a consultantin Accenture Strategy.richard.n.fu@accenture.com
Healthcare
Adapting to a new model of physicianemployment
By Andrew A. Ziskind, Kristin L. Ficery and Richard N. Fu
2000
57%49%43%33%
683723757793200520092013Total numberTruly independent
. .
Although the total number of physicians is increasing,the percentage that are truly independent is declining
2000 – 2013 (thousands) 

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