Employed docs just want to practice medicine, not run a business

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Doctors want to focus on practicing medicine. And here’s the proof: 54 percent of doctors don’t want to have to worry about the business of running a physician practice, according to a recent Medscape survey.

Doctors also cite two other big benefits of being an employed versus an independent physician: Avoiding working with billing and insurance companies (41 percent) and guaranteed cash flow (40 percent).

The voices of 4,987 doctors were included in this survey, which also revealed the following:

More physicians are switching to employed status. About twice as many doctors have transitioned to employed status from self-employment, but those numbers are slowing down, according to Medscape. Twenty-seven percent of doctors who are currently employed were once self-employed, whereas 13 percent of currently self-employed physicians were previously employed.

The reason for the slow-down is most physicians who are interested in being employed have already made the move, Marc Mertz, vice president of GE Heathcare Camden Group, told the publication.

Younger doctors want to be employed, but so do older physicians. Twenty-three percent of doctors under the age of 40 prefer the employed option (compared to 11 percent who prefer to be self-employed), but so do physicians who are 55 and older (45 percent).

Older doctors often prefer to be employed because selling their practices is no longer the economic boon it once was. These doctors often pursue the employment option because they want better retirement options, according to Medscape.

Still, employed doctors can get frustrated. The fact that they have limited influence on the decision-making process is the top reason doctors don’t like being employed (35%). Additional challenges are the limited ability to increase their income (34%) and less control over their work/schedule (28%).

Modern healthcare organizations are increasingly embracing structures and policies and procedures that doctors have to follow. That leads to less autonomy and more hours spent documenting care in the EHR and completing paperwork, reports Medscape.

- read the survey