Feature September 28, 2022 John Bernot, MD

Physician opinion: Preparing for the changing role of the practicing physician

Physicians will need to become better business leaders and other changes expected over the next ten years.

Preparing for the changing role of the practicing physician

As a practicing family physician, there’s a lot of change in our profession on the horizon.

One of the biggest is the increasing need for better, more savvy business acumen. 

To support the financial health and growth of health systems and large physician practices, today’s doctors need to be better business leaders or surround themselves with them in order to make the greatest impact. 

With the shift toward healthcare consumerism, physicians must also have reputation management strategies in place and understand price transparency legislation. All this means an increased need to be more focused on the business of healthcare, a trend that is unlikely to reverse. 

4 changes to the medical profession in the next 10 years

In the next ten years, here are four changes to expect in our profession. 

  1. Increased number of specialists. Expect to interact with even more specialists. Although this is nothing new, the increase will add layers of complexity to managing care across the continuum. Efforts will need to be made to manage this splintering and address whole person care. 
  2. Drastic technology advancements. I predict we’ll see vast improvements in existing technology already in use, including better, more interoperable EHRs and the need to harness the tsunami of data generated by wearables, RPM, and other activities outside the hospital setting. 
  3. More administrative efficiency. Along with improved technology comes an increase in operational efficiency. It’s predicted that automated systems could displace up to 80 percent of physicians’ administrative work, giving them more face-time with patients.1 Automation of non-clinical administrative tasks will also be critical to fighting physician burnout
  4. Higher adoption of value-based care. While there’s been a lot of talk about value-based care (VBC), over the next decade is when I expect there to be widespread adoption across the ecosystem. VBC changes how providers should look at patient care and offers an alternative to existing physician reimbursement models.2 It motivates them to create effective treatment plans that utilize technology to track them and improve care throughout the patient journey. 

Looking forward

Simply put, the physician’s role will change drastically over the next ten years, requiring physicians to step into the role of business leader—whether they like it or not. 

Practice management training in medical schools is critical to prepare future doctors for their expanded roles as physicians and business leaders. 

Technology is also going to play a massive part in that change. As our profession evolves, it is essential to implement a technology platform to help manage the transition and track patients throughout their care journey. 

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