Monday, February 27, 2012

Sustainable Physician Practice Models

The concept of sustainable development is now known – even among those who haven’t accepted it – and it’s recognized, debated, and followed by increasing numbers of businesses.

Maurice Strong (1929- ), Canadian entrepreneur

February 27, 2012 – In response of reform and economic pressures, American physicians are in the process of developing new practice business models. The nature of these practice models varies with specialty, regions of the country, hospital relationships, and physician leadership.

In my 2009 book, Obama, Doctors, and Health Reform, I listed a dozen of these models with examples of each

1. Medical homes

2. Hospital-based systems with owned primary care doctors, and employed specialists

3. Doctor-owned, clinic-based organizations, with salaried physicians

4. Geographically distribute practices under one practice umbrella

5. Specialty hospitals and surgicenters

6. Worksite clinics or groups serving worksites

7. Academic-based centers with outlying community hospitals and other clinical feeders

8. Hospitals with bundled-billing arrangement between hospitals and medical staff

9. Social networking physician organizations

10. Innovative delivery practices with and without third party connections

11. Practices that rely on patients with HSA accounts and high deductible plans for payment

12. Urgent care clinics or centers, in or near retail centers, in deserted malls with empty real estate, or in place competing with retail clinics staffed and backed by doctors.


Physician success depends on how physician practices are organized. Physicians are reappraising how large their organizations must be, how they can consolidate to offer a full range of services, how they can practice alone using tools like the Internet and electronic records, how they can innovate to provide 24 hour service and accessibility, how they can offer convenience and lower prices, and in general how they can leverage their skills to maintain sustainable practices. The name of the sustainable practice game is how to do this in a financially attainable way in manner that is explainable to colleagues and patients.

Tweet: A number and variety of new physician practice models are cropping up around the country in response to reform and economic pressures

1 comment:

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