Benefits of a Group Practice for Healthcare Professionals
A group practice consists of two or more physicians providing medical care in the same facility. They use the same staff and distribute revenue as previously agreed by the group. Group practices may consist of providers from a single specialty or multiple specialties.
Advantages of a Group Practice in Healthcare
Members in a group healthcare practice share facilities, staff, and income. Establishing a group psychology practice can effectively provide a comprehensive menu of psychological services in the one-stop healthcare services market. Multidisciplinary groups that include other health-related services may be better equipped to meet this market demand.
Some psychologists find that certain qualities of individual practice, including independent decision-making, flexibility, and individuality, fit their work style and personality well. The benefits of group practice make it an ideal arrangement for others. Many practicing psychologists have had to compare options at some point in their careers.
A group practice has the following potential benefits:
When joining a group practice, there are little or no start-up costs; the foundation for establishing this practice is already laid. This advantage extends to purchasing power, which enables practices to obtain improved medical technology at a lower cost.
Group practices, especially multidisciplinary groups, can have a competitive advantage in the marketplace regarding referral sources. Multidisciplinary groups increase their bargaining power by providing the one-stop shopping that healthcare systems and payers want.
In the current healthcare marketplace, physicians, hospitals, clinics, inpatient treatment centers, and other facilities often interact in complex care systems. Group practices are well-positioned to contract, develop, or in some cases, participate economically in these programs.
The current healthcare market requires understanding new service delivery and reimbursement methods. The changing paradigm in healthcare is such that healthcare professionals in isolation no longer make treatment decisions. Groups that can deliver effective services based on market realities and opportunities are often successful today and should continue to be in the future.
Combining Interests and Talents
In some practices, partners may be interested in overseeing or managing certain business aspects, while other partners prefer to avoid such roles. Combining the strengths and interests of multiple practitioners can increase the satisfaction and productivity of individual members and the overall team.
Group practitioners can consult with colleagues on complex cases. Coverage is easy to use to split calling duties and cover vacation or free time. There are also opportunities to learn from colleagues, improve skill levels and reduce professional isolation.
Economies of Scale
Group practices often consolidate the administrative and management functions of individual practitioners, thereby reducing the administrative burden on each member of the group practice. This sharing of resources ultimately reduces practice costs and increases competitiveness.
While this can be one of the most significant membership benefits, sometimes group members only get the full benefit if they integrate staff and other resources, duplicating tasks like billing. Reducing the administrative burden on team members frees them to provide professional services and helps improve the practice's bottom line.
Group practices may combine each physician's capital resources in a way that gives them access to tools that individual physicians may not be able to afford, such as electronic medical records, state-of-the-art office space, and start-up capital.
Greater Market Access
Group providers may have better access to patients than individual practitioners. Multiple affiliated healthcare professionals and collaborators increase opportunities for community connection with potential clients and referral sources. A group business can also expand its geographic reach by having multiple locations.
Improved Negotiating Position
Healthcare systems and payers often attempt to reduce administrative costs by consolidating multiple providers and specialties under a single contract. The group increases its competitiveness when a practice eases administrative work for the healthcare system.
Group practices have greater flexibility to share the clinical and financial risks associated with contracts and the business risks associated with owning and operating a practice. You can create various legal forms to minimize personal liability.
Comprehensive Referral Database
Group Practice provides a source of referrals for other healthcare professionals in the group.
In group exercises, the workload is usually less. Routine procedures are established, and there is additional support staff to complete tasks. Administrative, HR, and billing functions are all handled, leaving HCPs free to focus on all aspects of clinical work.
Where Your Practice Matters
The place where you practice sometimes determines the success or failure of a practice. Rural or suburban areas are often better suited for one-on-one practices due to the high medical needs and less competition with other medical resources. Additionally, some local hospitals are affiliated with and support individual practices to help maintain their patient base.
Other Types of Medical Practices
Physicians are increasingly employed in one of several practice models. Other than group practice, here are the most common types of medical practices in the current marketplace:
An independent practice is described by its name, as a practice with no affiliation or employment relationship with other practicing organizations.
Some physicians work in independent contractual relationships. In this model, practices (individual or group practices) remain independent, but facilities and possibly clinical care are shared with other physicians or groups of physicians. This can spread the cost of running a practice and provide flexibility in clinical planning. The downside of independent procurement is the loss of decision-making power compared to a fully independent one-on-one or group practice.
Employed Physician Practice
Some hospitals may acquire and manage existing individual or group clinics, or hire physicians to work in inpatient facilities or outpatient clinics. Healthcare companies can own and operate clinics and employ doctors. Some physician-led groups are structured around an employment model in which the group practice is structured more like a firm that hires clinicians rather than following a more traditional collaborative model.
Direct Primary Care
Direct primary care is a different practice model based on a non-traditional payment system. Patients receive a fixed monthly, quarterly, or annual membership fee for a defined set of essential care services rather than submitting an insurance claim for essential care services.
Concierge medicine, also known as reservation medicine, is a variation of direct primary care. While both models are similar in requiring patients to pay a core membership fee, concierge services can have smaller patient panels and often provide expanded access and services beyond traditional primary care. Concierge Healthcare has several models, some of which continue to bill patients' insurers for covered services rather than relying primarily on membership fees to pay for them.
Locum tenens is a Latin expression that means "one who takes the place of" and refers to physicians traditionally employed to continue the practice of absent colleagues. However, locum tenens positions are also used to temporarily cover various clinical needs, such as quickly bringing clinical services to Scale to the point of hiring permanent clinicians.
Locum tenens positions are often contract-based, often through a recruiting firm that hires physicians to work as independent contractors in specific practice settings. It may be ideal for those who still need to finalize plans to enter the clinic or continue their education. It can also provide an opportunity to learn about different practices in other parts of the country without a long-term commitment.