Study on Small Medical Practices

Our survey showed that 41 percent of private practices say they are doing worse this year compared to the last. See the 2010 challenges and improvements for private practice.

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Physician Survey Reveals “Unhealthy” State of Small Medical Practices Nationwide

Practice Fusion’s 2011 State of the Small Practice survey and infographic reveals 41 percent of private practices are doing worse than last year; optimism around job satisfaction and new technology.

State of small practice infographic
SAN FRANCISCO – January 11, 2011 – Costs of running a medical practice and insurance reimbursement issues continue to be major sources of concern for most physicians, according to a survey of small to mid-sized medical practices conducted by Practice Fusion, the free, web-based Electronic Health Record (EHR) company. The 2011 State of the Small Practice survey highlights the challenges faced by private practices nationwide in an environment of economic downturn, technology mandates and healthcare reform.

“Small primary care medical practices are the backbone of the US healthcare system,” said Ryan Howard, CEO of Practice Fusion. “These are family doctors on the front lines, they’re passionate about caring for their patients and our survey indicates that they’re struggling. Practice Fusion, as an entirely free EHR system, is helping thousands of medical practices across the country to increase efficiency, eliminate paper charts, qualify for EHR incentives and provide top quality care to their communities.”

Key findings:

  • 41 percent of doctors report that their practice is doing worse this year compared to last year. Compared to 26 percent who report their practice doing better and 31 percent report no change.
  • 59 percent report that new technology has made things easier for their medical practice.
  • 73 percent report that the computers in their practice are over three years old on average (21 percent in the five to six-year-old range).
  • 69 percent of doctors report being satisfied to extremely satisfied with their career despite these challenges.
  • Doctors were also asked to report their practice’s top negative pressures and positive trends in a series of open ended questions.
  • Issues relating to practice administration (31 percent), insurance and reimbursement (26 percent) and difficult patients (11 percent) are the top negative pressures on the practices.
  • Positive trends are led by advancements in medicine (22 percent), patient quality (19 percent) and improvement in the healthcare workforce (15 percent).
  • 80% of US physicians practice in groups of 9 or less according to the AMA.

View Practice Fusion’s 2011 State of the Small Practice infographic. Raw data from the survey is available free upon request. Practice Fusion is also offering physician sources across the country to talk about their own experiences managing a small practice.

Survey Methodology

The Practice Fusion State of the Small Practice study was conducted by internet survey in December 2010 with MDLinx. Responses to 10 questions were collected from a national sample of 100 physicians. The majority of respondents were primary care providers in practices with fewer than six providers.

About Practice Fusion

Practice Fusion provides a free, web-based Electronic Health Record (EHR) system to primary care physicians. With charting, scheduling, e-prescribing, billing, lab integrations, referral letters, unlimited support and a Personal Health Record for patients, Practice Fusion’s EMR addresses the complex needs of today’s healthcare providers and disrupts the health IT status quo. Practice Fusion is the fastest growing EHR community in the country with more than 60,000 users and 6 million patients. For more information on Practice Fusion, please visit practicefusion.com.

Press Contact – Helen Phung