Changing Medical Practice - by the numbers

The basic approach to how physicians practice medicine is probably the most consistent element in healthcare delivery… especially in primary care. The two biggest changes have been the general elimination of house calls and the introduction of e-Visits. However, the standards of office practice have been quite stable. 

That stability is built on the perspective that physicians are productivity driven and wish to see as many patients as efficaciously possible in a normal day. However, today’s physicians aren’t driven by the same set of standards as physicians just a decade or two older. One of the nation’s leading physician recruitment firms has conducted regular attitudinal research of final year residents for nearly three decades and they have longitudinally tracked some eye-opening changes – particularly in terms of what’s important to physicians today… and that also means physicians tomorrow. The bottom line is this, physicians today, those within a decade of entering practice and those now entering, value time off… free time more than any group ever. They value it enough to make it a key decision factor in accepting employment. That fact has serious ramifications for medical practice staffing. But, combine that fact with the ongoing shift to value-based medicine and reimbursement, and you have the making for a seismic shift in medical practice.  

What is the answer? This is not a simple calculation. However, some intriguing responses can be developed. Balancing the changes in patient outcomes expectations with the changes in physicians’ work expectations, lend themselves to some very complex, yet highly reliable modeling. The recommending model is Cost Effectiveness Analysis, CEA. Afterall, productivity and cost effectiveness will always remain critical objectives, they will simply be measured and valued in different ways. The organizations that effectively marry physician satisfaction with improved patient health outcomes will be the organizations that truly excel in the decades ahead.