Number of Independent Physicians Decreasing

Nov 6, 2012, 11:00 AM

A report from the consulting firm Accenture finds a significant drop in physicians who practice independently, from 57 percent in 2000 to 39 percent in 2012. Business costs and expenses were the top concerns influencing physicians’ decision to seek employment (cited by 87 percent of survey respondents).

For those who remain independent, alternative business models are becoming more common. Accenture estimates that one-third of independent physicians will adopt subscription-based care models, like high-end concierge medicine and direct pay models.

“Doctors who convert to subscription-based models that shift the focus away from service volume will not only access greater financial rewards, but will also gain the flexibility to get back to the basics of patient care,” the report says. “Patients could also reap the rewards by gaining enhanced access to care at a service level they can afford.”

Accenture estimates that only 36 percent of physicians will be practicing independently by the end of 2013.  The survey of 204 physicians who represented an equal split of primary care and specialty physicians was conducted in May.

Read the report.

This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF Human Capital Blog. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the authors.