6 thoughts on the hospital-physician relationship: Where is it headed?

Laura Dyrda -   Print  |

The hospital-physician relationship is becoming more important as the healthcare system shifts focus to value-based care, according to a Health Affairs article.

Here are six key trends from the article:


1. Healthcare industry reports show more physicians are becoming hospital employed, but the "economic power balance" between physicians and hospitals is more complex. Physicians make care decisions and affect both quality and cost of care delivered.


2. Hospitals and physicians directly compete in surgery, imaging and other ambulatory services, which makes the relationship fragile. There are often conflicts between physician contracts and the professional practice scope between the two groups.


3. Hospitals can't function without physicians admitting patients or referring to specialists and diagnostic services, and hospitals can provide financial security to physicians who become employed. But in some communities physicians wish to remain independent to control their practice.


4. Physicians often set clinical outcomes and control hospital service access as well as device and vendor selection. Independent physicians can partner with hospitals to provide call coverage or other service line management arrangements.


5. Baby boomer physicians who were more entrepreneurial-minded are retiring and millennial physicians have high medical school debt; as a result, the young physicians prefer hospital employment. These physicians want to work shorter weeks and are not often inclined to participate in new payment models, according to the report.


6. Hospitals supply an increasing percentage of physician income, but top-line revenues are only growing in the low single digits, if there is growth. Hospital executives are looking for ways to collaborate with physicians to increase productivity and quality.


More articles on physicians:
Physician behavior impacts malpractice claims rate—5 takeaways
39 physicians push 'Medicare for all' plan—6 takeaways
Payers, payment & cost of care: 10 statistics from gastroenterologists

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