In the US healthcare system, the role of a physician cannot be ignored or misunderstood. Health care reforms may have different impacts on patients, medical workers, and policymakers due to the existing variety of control issues (Lipsitz, 2012). Physicians have to comprehend their roles and possibilities as practice administrators, leaders, and members of a medical group practice. In this paper, several aspects of physician practice management, consumer behavior, and professional qualities will be discussed to explain the opportunities for physicians in the modern world with its obligations and improvements.
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Forms of Medical Group Practice
In the United States, group medical practices are used to gather all medical goals, aspects, and opportunities and divide the work of groups of physicians who have to cooperate and develop close professional relations utilizing appropriate equipment and technical personnel (Coulam, Kralewski, Dowd, & Gans, 2016). This type of practice is characterized by two main forms, single-specialty and multispecialty. Medical group practices have such advantages as improved financial security and the possibility to control lifestyles. Besides, a larger number of physicians involved in one group promoting an increased number of patients and the amount of care offered in time.
In comparison to single-specialty practices where several physicians offer one type of care to patients, multispecialty group practices help to introduce several types of medical care in the same organization. A multispecialty form of medical group practice seems to be more attractive to a newly licensed physician due to the possibility to try several directions at the same time, understand what kind of work can be preferable, and make a final decision about the field of medical practice.
Role of a Physician in a Medical Practice
Nowadays, it is impossible to neglect the fact that medical practice has already been changed considerably because of the necessity to adapt to numerous social and technological ideas and improvements. The nature of the physicians’ role has been changed as well. Today, physicians have to comprehend that they are not social workers or nurses who have to cooperate with patients and their families, provide explanations, and find excuses for their decisions. During the last 20 years, physicians have learned how to develop their leadership skills and how to measure the boundaries of health care (Wolper, 2012).
Physicians may become leaders who determine the style of health care and the relations that can be developed between patients and medical workers. Physicians become the guardians of nurses and patients at the same time because they help to clarify the responsibilities and outcomes of care offered by their organizations. Twenty years ago, physicians did not pay much attention to such concepts as workplace ethics and norms. They followed the standards and learned the rules. Today, they can change the rules and create the conditions which are appropriate for a medical group practice.
Main Challenges of a Physician as a Medical Group Practice Member
One of the main challenges of a physician as a medical group practice member is the necessity to use new approaches to the management of different stakeholders (Wolper, 2012). It is not enough to know that some innovations apply to a health care organization. It is obligatory to know the rationale for each choice and be aware of the worth of each decision. Another challenge is based on the necessity to communicate with patients and care providers at different levels. Physicians have to learn what kind of information should be introduced to patients and their families, and which facts have to be explained to medical workers.
Multispecialty group practices are based on numerous facts and details. Finally, today’s physicians are challenged by the necessity to stay motivated to the practice they are involved in (Lipsitz, 2012). Physicians have to enjoy their work and decrease the level of job dissatisfaction. They have to search for some new sources of inspiration.
Specific Competencies of a Physician as a Practice Manager
To be successful as a practice manager, a physician has to demonstrate specific competencies, including medical knowledge, appropriate communication skills, and professionalism in understanding legal and regulatory standards in medical care. For example, professionalism helps to achieve and preserve professional standards in providing patients with care and medical workers with clear instructions (Wolper, 2012). Communication skills are used to interact with colleagues and patients clearly and concisely. Finally, medical knowledge is an integral factor in the development of skilled facilities benefits (Lipsitz, 2012).
Hurdles of a Physician as a Leader of a Group Practice
The hurdles that can occur in the development of the above-mentioned specific competencies of a physician may include fast technological progress, an existing variety of people with different levels of knowledge, and the importance of commitments of practices to new quality initiatives (Coulam et al., 2016). With such opportunities, physicians have to face certain measurements and expectations. Sometimes, doctors are ready to recognize and follow the rules, and, sometimes, it is hard to clarify the tasks and follow them precisely.
Human Resources Management Importance in a Medical Practice
To cope with the hurdles, recognize professional competencies, and overcome practical challenges, physicians can use different methods. The development of effective human resources management is one of the most appropriate and frequently used steps. HRM plays an important role in health care because it ensures such concepts as motivation, satisfaction, and enjoyment. Besides, staff performance and productivity can be increased considerably. The value of HRM effectiveness in physicians’ practice can be assessed with the help of the results achieved during the last five years regarding the steps taken and decisions made.
To achieve long-term success, a physician, as a member of a medical group practice, has to complete three main functions, including recruiting, training, and supporting potential and current medical workers. First, it is recommended to find a group of people with whom new medical standards, practices, and rules have to be discussed and explained. Recruiting is the step that has to be taken thoroughly.
This function is used to choose candidates for an organization and investigate their skills and potential. In addition to this function, any organization should have a manager who knows how to help employees acquire knowledge and develop skills to perform their jobs properly. New and current employees need to have opportunities to improve their skills and knowledge. High-level responsibilities can be performed as soon as training is promoted. Finally, the support of employees is the main advisory function that is used to formulate policies and competencies and show the best ways to complete the required duties.
Consumer Behavior Aspects in a Marketing Strategy
Physicians as practice managers have to consider such aspects of consumer behavior like decision-making, subconscious influences (religion or culture), and marketing influence (effective advertisement). These aspects help to comprehend why people address specialized facilities, what they expect to get, and when it is necessary to offer a new service. Physicians have to use their knowledge to investigate their potential patients and prepare answers and explanations to possible questions and concerns. Such aspects can be used to succeed in the implementation of a marketing strategy.
Coulam, R., Kralewski, J., Dowd, B., & Gans, D. (2016). The role of medical group practice administrators in the adoption and implementation of Medicare’s physician quality reporting. Health Care Management Review, 41(2), 145-154. Web.
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Lipsitz, L.A. (2012). Understanding health care as a complex system: The foundation for unintended consequences. The Journal of the American Medical Association, 308(3), 243-244. Web.
Wolper, L.F. (2012). Physicians practice management: Essential operational and financial knowledge (2nd ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Publishers. Web.