July 29, 2015

Many U.S. Doctors will Leave Private Practice for Hospital Employment, Accenture Reports

Only one-in-three doctors will remain independent by the end of 2016

CHICAGO; July 29, 2015 – A growing number of U.S. doctors are leaving private practice for hospital employment and only one-in-three will remain independent by the end of 2016, according to a new report from Accenture.

The number of independent physicians has declined over the last several years, from 57 percent in 2000 to 49 percent in 2005. Accenture predicts that next year this number will drop further, to 33 percent, and represents a 10 percent decline from Accenture’s 2012 report.

The two factors that physicians cited most often as their biggest concern with remaining independent were reimbursement pressures and overhead cost, cited by 36 percent and 23 percent of respondents, respectively. With that, some independent doctors are choosing to opt-out of public programs, such as Medicaid (cited by 26 percent of respondents), health exchange plans (15 percent) and Medicare (3 percent).

Meanwhile, in response to revenue and cost pressures, other independent physicians are experimenting with low-staffing models, such as reducing support personnel (22 percent) or extending office hours (21 percent).

Independent physicians are also creating new business models to remain competitive. Nearly one-fifth (17 percent) of those surveyed are participating in accountable care organizations and 7 percent are aligning to patient-centered medical home models. In other cases, one-fourth (24 percent) are considering ancillary or subscription-based services to generate new revenue streams over the next three years.

“Independent practices need business models that are as unique as the market they serve,” said Kaveh Safavi, global managing director of Accenture’s health business. “There’s increasing complexity with running an independent practice and requires that doctors differentiate by specialty type, size or in personalizing service options, such as remote consultations or same-day appointments. Doing so will help independent physicians stay relevant and profitable.”

For the third time, Accenture conducted an analysis of the U.S. market for independent physicians, estimating the number of licensed professionals in 2013 and projecting a forecast for the end of 2016. To complement these findings, Accenture conducted an online survey of 194 independent US physicians to assess their employment status and practice models.

About Accenture
Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company, with more than 336,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries. Combining unparalleled experience, comprehensive capabilities across all industries and business functions, and extensive research on the world’s most successful companies, Accenture collaborates with clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments. The company generated net revenues of US$30.0 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2014. Its home page is www.accenture.com.

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