I am on a roll finding old posts from The Physician Executive that are still relevant today. In fact, this post is more relevant today than it was in August 2007. We now must need to be concerned about how physicians are being managed and in the face of large integrated health systems with an incentive to encourage increased testing and referral. This will still be a major policy issue for the next decade.
Interesting post by Dr. Reece about physician-hospital collaborations at medinnovationblog. There is no question that community hospitals exist in a challenging environment, but each specialty now has its own financial realities that can color the relationship between physician groups and hospitals. My comment, is the most recent trend towards hospital-employed physicians accomplishes two things:
1) it puts physician executives in greater demand
2) it may put more hospital functions under greater physician influence or control.
Surely there are numerous other forces at work here and only the smartest and best informed physicians will win. I don’t believe the golden age of medicine was very good for patients, at least on a population basis. However physicians are often well-positioned to consider the patients’ best interests. Hopefully, the current grass-roots push towards more accountability and better quality-of-care data will combine with a strong physician perspective and professional management skills at hospitals to improve health outcomes overall.
Then again, the landscape may prove just too complex to navigate.