3d Health, Inc. Blog

Is Physician Productivity Rebounding? (Part 1 of 3)

May 1, 2017 10:59:00 AM / by M. Shane Foreman

In our work helping clients across the country determine the number and type of physicians they need to be successful, physician productivity is a key factor.  We have been closely tracking the market forces that impact productivity, as well as the resulting level of ambulatory encounters on a per specialty basis.  This week’s focus is on primary care.

Back in 2002, primary care productivity was quite high within the office setting – 4,325 ambulatory encounters in Family Medicine, 3,512 in Internal Medicine, 2,996 in OB/Gyn, 4,849 in Pediatrics and 5,028 in Urgent Care.  Then, some combination of physician employment, the use of electronic medical records fueled by meaningful use $$, and the implementation of the Hospitalist model impacted physician productivity.

Family Medicine productivity has slowly declined over the years, hitting a low point of 3,541 ambulatory encounters in 2016 – 18% below 2002.  Family Medicine experienced a slight uptick in 2015, but went back down in 2016.

Productivity in Internal Medicine fell to its lowest level in 2014, but has rebounded in the last two years.  In 2014, the median ambulatory encounters for Internal Medicine was 3,060, 13% below 2002.  By 2016, Internal Medicine productivity grew to 3,444 encounters, almost back to 2002 levels.

The decline in OB/Gyn productivity has been more dramatic – down 22% by 2013.  That said, so has the rebound.  OB/Gyn productivity in 2015 was the same as 2002 and 2016 is slightly lower.

Physician productivity in both Pediatrics and Urgent Care has yet to bottom-out.  Pediatric productivity is down 24% since 2002 and at its lowest level ever in 2016.  Urgent Care productivity has declined 21% since 2002 and is also at its lowest level ever.

For primary care, physician productivity has been a mixed bag – Internal Medicine and OB/Gyn has largely rebounded while Family Medicine, Pediatrics and Urgent Care are still looking for the floor.

If you have any questions or comments, please contact Shane Foreman at 312-423-2671 or sforeman@3dhealthinc.com.

Topics: Patient Access to Physicians, Medical Staff Development Planning, Primary Care Strategy

M. Shane Foreman

Written by M. Shane Foreman