In our conversations with physicians and independent medical practices across the country, we’ve learned that for them, happiness, burnout, and work-life balance mean much more than earning money. For physicians, meaningful work means autonomy to create their own futures and to make a genuine difference in the lives of their patients. For many, this means working for an independent practice.
Physicians want autonomy
Physicians want to use their own insights and values to direct their careers, to choose their daily focus and goals, to influence their work environment, and especially to manage the decisions required to provide quality patient care. Meanwhile, the bottom line is essential, or there is not a practice at all. The independent practices we speak with often struggle to grow and even to stay profitable in a more and more competitive environment.
Independent medical practices feel pressure to join hospital groups
There is currently enormous pressure for physicians and physician groups to leave or sell their independent medical practices and instead join larger hospital conglomerates. These larger hospital groups promise physicians relief from handling the business and marketing side of things, with the added promise that they will bring in more patients and offer more regular work hours to the physicians, suggesting more of the elusive work/life balance.
Without autonomy, physicians feel burnout
But what do physicians find instead? The hospital systems focus on the hospitals. They ignore the physicians, impose bureaucracy, and take away the physician’s voice in providing good patient care and molding a rewarding career.
In situations like this, physicians are actually more likely to feel real burnout, because burnout appears to result just as much from lacking autonomy or working in a difficult environment as it does from working long hours. More so, this study suggests that when a bureaucracy imposes extra regulations, physicians actually do have to work extra hours to keep patient care at the quality they want to offer. Even in the best-case scenarios, the hospitals really do not offer the physicians much if any benefit of marketing and business revenue growth.
Independent physicians make their own decisions about patient care and work-life balance
Constantly exploring the needs of independent medical practices is Marni Jameson Carey, Executive Director of the Association for Independent Doctors (AID). In an excellent article exploring the connection between independence and physician job satisfaction, Carey commented:
Doctors who work autonomously in small practices have a say in how things are run. They can be decision makers. After all, doctors are naturally gifted people. Most of them are pretty sharp. They want a say in how their day goes and how the practice is run. If that means they can only see 15 patients a day and do a great job, rather than see 35, they get to make that decision.
They want it to be about the two people who care most about the patient, which is the patient and the doctor. The hospital doesn’t care. The government doesn’t care. They’re just trying to make the money work out. Doctors don’t want to be exploited. They don’t want everybody making money off of their backs, which is unfortunately what is happening.
Marni Jameson Carey, Executive Director of the Association of Independent Doctors
SocialClimb helps medical practices stay independent
Our mission at SocialClimb is to help medical practices of all sizes to compete successfully for minimal cost. We constantly have real physicians and real practices in mind, because we listen to our clients daily. We learn from our conversations and consistently integrate features to meet practice marketing needs. With our tools, medical practices can stay independent, and physicians can direct their own futures and focus on the quality patient care they have made their life focus.
SocialClimb’s intelligent software marketing tools help independent practices to remain independent. Our marketing system is so effective that practices can compete in any market and to attract the patients they want to meet their goals for growth. Start reading here to learn how our automated system can work for your practice. Or call us for a free demo.