The medical profession is currently in a state of upheaval. There is massive professional dissatisfaction among longtime physicians as well as those just entering the field. This has created an environment of heightened migration, as doctors move from organization to organization to find a more satisfying setting. This general dissatisfaction has led many physicians the desire to leave the profession all together. Furthermore, the general consolidation throughout the industry has shunted many private practice physicians into employment situations. A report from Accenture reveals that the number of independent physicians has dropped from 57 percent in 2000 to 33 percent in 2015. This is a staggering trend that has put doctors in a precarious situation and reminds me of a quote by Jeff Endean-Saginaw:
“As an attorney whose practice largely involved advising physicians, I sadly now advise young folks who ask me about a medical career: If you’re a smart enough to become a doctor, you should be smart enough to not become a doctor.”
This is unfortunate for the medical profession because independent physicians tend to be have more control over their careers, more clinical autonomy and improved earning potential, according to a Medscape survey. This survey also found that 70 percent of those doctors who transitioned from a hospital to a private practice were happier, while only 49 percent of those who moved from practice to hospital were happier.
Due to the shrinking number of practices, the job openings in these groups have become highly competitive. It is no longer enough merely to possess strong clinical skills; practice owners are looking for qualities that will add value to their enterprise.
The most important skill that independent medical groups are looking for is the ability to communicate effectively with patients and colleagues. The proven ability to manage patients by successfully communicating diagnoses, treatment strategies and patient responsibilities is a highly desirable quality among candidates. This ability often produces better medical outcomes as patients are more compliant, but it also creates improved patient satisfaction which enhances business competitiveness.
In addition to strong communication skills, private practices are looking for physicians who excel in a team-oriented environment. Not only does this mean certain technical proficiencies, but skills that add new functionalities and can broaden the appeal of the practice. Just as important as technical abilities is a compatible personality that works well with staff and colleagues.
Finally, a medical professional with a track record for successfully completing several projects simultaneously often has heightened appeal. Physicians who can handle patients, manage administrative tasks and produce scholarly literature simultaneously add considerably to the success and visibility of a practice. As regulatory and compliance oversight increases as it has with the Affordable Care Act, physicians must go beyond just being a good clinician.
In addition to the personal qualities of a candidate, there are some important ways to line up interviews and show up on the radar of practice owners. The most important is networking. Many practices find new members merely by meeting potential candidates and developing a professional relationship. A positive rapport may be enough to secure a position, even if the group isn’t formally looking for a new partner.
Prior to filling a schedule with meetings, it is helpful to determine which practices are potentially an ideal fit. This usually means examining a group’s website to learn size of staff, patient traffic and synergies with other organization. While getting a general impression of how the clinic works is enough to spark an initial interest, it may also be helpful to speak with other professionals in the area and specialty to learn more behind-the-scenes details.
CEO, Onyx M.D.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the personal views of Robert Moghim, M.D. and do not necessarily represent and are not intended to represent the views of the company or its employees.