Independent primary care physicians are more productive, study finds

Primary care physicians who own or act as a partner at independent practices are more engaged and more productive than PCPs employed by healthcare organizations, according to a recent survey cited by athenahealth contributor Chris Hayhurst.

For the survey, 1,029 physicians from the athenahealth network were asked a variety of questions assessing their engagement and their perceived "capability," or whether they believed they had the tools and resources to properly care for patients. Researchers then combined the information with athenahealth data on productivity, including the work relative value units physicians generate each day.

Researchers discovered 37.5 percent of PCPs who owned or were partners at their practice identified as more engaged in their jobs, compared to 26.3 percent of PCPs employed by an organization.

The data also illustrated similar results in terms of productivity — PCP owners and partners generated 26.9 work RVUs per day on average, while their employed counterparts generated 23.1 work RVUs.

However, physicians employed by independent practices reported less burnout than owners and partners (40 percent versus 42.9 percent).

"That employee relationship may dilute some of the passion of being an owner or partner," said Josh Gray, vice president of research at athenahealth. "When you have a personal stake in a practice's success, you're probably going to feel more engaged, and that may lead you to be more productive."

To access the full report, click here.

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