Friday, June 15, 2007

Micropractices: A Normal Rockwell Thing?

It seems some think so:
Savard, 36, a graduate of the Stony Brook University School of Medicine, is in the vanguard of physicians who are experimenting with a new family practice business model.

It's called a micropractice.

Savard has no nurse but shares a receptionist with several other solo practitioners; she does her own paperwork. Mostly, she runs her office electronically, lowering her overhead because she has no salaries to pay.

She keeps patients' files on her laptop and soon will be billing electronically too. She uses software to process insurance claims. One more thing: Savard estimates her income will remain about 10 percent less than if she were in a group practice with a full staff -- and that's fine with her. She makes her own schedule and works four half-days a week for now, although she plans to start working a fifth.

"I'm not being controlled and being told when I'm on call," Savard said.

Savard began establishing her practice last fall and has 200 patients. She had been working as a salaried doctor at a group practice.

How did she come up with this system? She read an article by Gordon Moore, a physician in Rochester, N.Y., and an advocate for micropractices. Moore says micropractices give patients "unfettered access" to doctors at a time when some physicians have overloaded their practices.

"There's nothing new under the sun here," Moore said, calling it "the Norman Rockwell thing ... plus the software."
With the price of gas these days, I'm not sure I can afford to earn 10% less, as this model suggests.

-Wes

3 comments:

TBTAM said...

Micropractice - I love the name, and the practice model. Harkens back to the days when a doc and his wife (usually nurse, receptionist, and bookeeper all rolled into one) could save the world (or at least their own little corner of it)and make a life.

A 10% cut in income to work 4 days a week? I'll take it...

DrWes said...

tbtam-

Yeah, the name is cute, but is medicine really a 4-day-a-week endeavor? I wonder...

Who will cover Dr. Savard's patient's when she takes time off? What cost to her will ensue? Why does she want to go to five-days if the four-day-a-week practice is so attractive?

Me thinks there's more to this than meets the eye...

Anonymous said...

yeah who takes pt calls for her when the office is closed? who takes overnight call? how do specialists communicate with her? i guess she doesn't round on inpatients. controlling hours is a lot easier with a new practice, especially if made up with relatively healthy young people. what happens in a few years?