Friday, December 11, 2009

We're Likely to Continue to See a Decline in Small Physician Practices

Atul Gawande's latest article in the New Yorker magazine compares the current health care quality and efficiency crisis to a similar crisis experienced in agriculture in the early 1990s. Gawande points out that improvements in agriculture, driven by scientific and technological advances and evidence-based efficiencies, resulted in farm consolidation and the rise of big "agribusiness". And, the small farmer suffered as they became less competitive with larger, consolidated farms.

Gawande postulates that small physician practices may face a similar situation. Pressures for physicians to consolidate will only increase with the emphasis on performance measurement and outcomes-based payment methologies.Given this direction, we are likely to see the number of small practices continue to decrease.

Click here to read a summary of the article's points on small physician practices.

Click here to read Atul Gawande's complete article.

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