Practice Economics

Survey: Med students disdain private practice



Almost three-quarters of medical students are aiming for future employment in a large health system or hospital, while just 10% want to work in a solo or partnership practice, according to a survey from Epocrates.

Last year, the numbers were 70% and 17%, respectively.

One cause: Students are not being trained in the business of medicine, said Dr. Anne Meneghetti, executive director of medical information at Epocrates.


“More than half of them are dissatisfied with the training they received in med school on practice management and ownership,” Dr. Meneghetti said in an interview. “The majority feel unprepared to do the billing and coding and other administrative practice functions in this highly regulated environment.”

That finding also plays into another concern future physicians have – work-life balance. A total of 60% of the survey respondents cited that as top concern, moving ahead of being a good physician, which was identified by 50%. In 2013, being a good physician was identified at the top concern by 55% of those surveyed, with work-life balance coming in at 51%.

“Given the choice between a reasonable lifestyle in a large organization versus the hassles of business ownership in this highly regulated field, the choice is really easy for most of them,” Dr. Meneghetti said. “There’s a lot more security and predictability in these larger enterprise settings.”

Nearly all students surveyed “feel it is important to work with extended care teams (which can include registered nurses, physician assistants, specialists, and medical staff)” in order to deliver high quality care and ensure financial success as a physician, according to the report. Two-thirds (66%) said they “feel they are being prepared to tackle the task of care coordination, while 20% feel their training is merely adequate.”

“Younger physicians seem to instinctively know what the entire medical community is realizing – that medicine is a team experience,” Dr. Meneghetti said.

Despite that, the survey found that 65% of medical students feel they don’t know enough about accountable care organizations, down from 72% in the previous year, with 39% unsure about the purpose or structure of ACOs.

The Ninth Future Physicians of America survey report represents the responses of 1,462 medical students surveyed between late August and early September.

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