Are the days of the independent physician coming to an end?

I think so.

The NEJM has a perspective piece on the declining percentage of doctors who practice independently. Depending on the source, the number ranges from 29 to 61 percent.

It is becoming increasingly difficult for doctors not to be supported by a hospital or large integrated health system. With reimbursements declining, many doctors are opting for the relative security of a salary.

Furthermore, joining a large group makes it easier for a doctor to adopt electronic medical records, coordinating care for the chronically ill, or adhering to practice guidelines.

These trends will ensure that the consolidation of doctors into larger groups will continue. Whether this definitively benefits patient care is still unclear, but I suspect that patient outcomes will likely improve as this movement continues.

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