NJBIZ – January 07, 2015
New Jersey physicians are under stress from the rapidly changing health care environment, and the majority are considering changes to their practice structure, such as merging with a hospital or another practice, according to a new survey.
The third annual New Jersey Health Care Monitor survey by the law firm Brach Eichler, conducted last November and December, found that nearly 90 percent of respondents believe the health care environment has negatively impacted their role as a physician. Of those, more than 86 percent report increased administrative burdens, while more than 60 percent are spending less time with patients and more money on technology. The majority of physicians reported changes in their reimbursement levels, with some saying their compensation has increased, while others are earning less as health care reform transforms their profession.
The statewide survey received responses from 100 physicians, including solo practitioners, members of a group practice or physicians employed by a health care facility.
Linda Schwimmer, vice president of the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute, said, “The results are interesting and are evidence of just how hard it is to transform health care.”
Schwimmer added: “We are at a turbulent time in health care and physicians are in the bull’s-eye of the change. But change brings opportunity and prospects for real improvement.”
She noted that practices need to invest in electronic systems, “but this has been true for many fields for the last 20 years. Medicine, frankly, is playing catch-up.”
Schwimmer of the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute said, “The shift to patient-centered care and the accountable care models holds real promise to improve physician-patient communications, to engage in ‘shared decision-making’ where physicians and their staff have the time to discuss and understand their patients’ goals for care and health and then suggest next steps in that context including when that test, drug or procedure may not be medically necessary or good for the patient, given their goals.”
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