The proportion of physicians in solo and two-physician practices decreased significantly from 40.7 percent in 1996-97 to 32.5 percent in 2004-05, according to a new national study released today by the Center for Studying Health System Change (HSC).
Changes in physician practice setting and organization have important implications for the practice of medicine and the care patients receive. Some experts believe that large, multispecialty practices, which combine primary care physicians and a range of specialists in the same practice, are the organizational structure with the greatest potential to provide consistently high-quality care.
Despite the shift away from the smallest practices, physicians are not moving to multispecialty practices, the study found. The proportion of physicians in multispecialty practices decreased from 30.9 percent to 27.5 percent between 1998-99 and 2004-05.
While growth of multispecialty practices stalled, other significant changes in physician practice settings and organization took place over the last decade—more physicians moved to larger practices and more physicians gave up an ownership stake in their practices. Physicians increasingly are practicing in mid-sized, single-specialty groups of six to 50 physicians (17.6 % of physicians in 2004-05 vs. 13.1 % in 1996-97). At the same time, the proportion of physicians with an ownership stake in their practice declined from 61.6 percent in 1996-97 to 54.4 percent in 2004-05.
Thursday, August 16, 2007
New study from the Center for Studying Health System Change
From the news release: