- Nearly twice as many doctors — 27% vs. 13% — have switched from independent practice to employed situations than the reverse, according to Medscape’s Employed Doctors Report 2016.
- Of those who are employed, 32% work in hospitals, 19% are in single-specialty group practices and 15% are in multispecialty group practices. By contrast, 32% of self-employed doctors are in single-specialty practices.
- Medscape surveyed nearly 5,000 physicians to gauge how they feel about self-employment versus working for an employer.
Financial security is the main driver for choosing employment, being cited by 36% of survey respondents. Other reasons were a better work-life balance (26%) and fewer administrative responsibilities (15%). Thirteen percent said they were forced to sell their practices and accept employment.
Slightly more female than male respondents are employed — 82% versus 78%. And younger physicians, those under 40, are more than twice as likely to be employed as independent — 23% versus 11%.
Among physicians over 40, independents still are a majority, but that’s changing, as the percentage of employed older physicians grew 8% since 2014, the study shows. One reason for the shift is retirement planning, respondents said, with older doctors selling their practices to hospitals as they begin to wind down.
When asked what they liked most about employment, 54% said not having to deal with business matters, 41% said not dealing with insurers and billing, 50% mentioned having a steady income. Other employment perks included good benefits, malpractice coverage, more regular hours and limited on-call duties.
Topping what doctors like least about employment is lack of decisionmaking, with 35% citing lack of autonomy as a major downside. That’s due in part to increased standardization in the healthcare system, resulting in more rules and layer of approval, the study said.
Despite the growing shift from self-employed to employed, which group of doctors is happier? Self-employment got higher marks, with 63% of those physicians claiming job satisfaction, compared with 55% of employed doctors.