Physicians Voice Frustrations, Concerns in Practice Growth Survey

JANUARY 28, 2020
Kenny Walter
As the digital age continues to evolve, physicians are must continue to adapt to maintain and increase practice growth.

In the first-ever 2020 practice growth survey report conducted by PatientPop, providers were able to shed light on some of their experiences in the private practice setting, including their needs, successes, and desire to see and care for more patients.

In the survey, physicians and dentists were asked to define practice growth, where 70.5% of participants defined it as more patients, more than doubling the next popular answers of more staff and greater profits.

The survey results also show how private practices need to become more business savvy, particularly in connecting with patients.

“Widespread patient use of online and digital tools is a fundamental change for which practices can easily adapt, as the cornerstone for future success,” the authors wrote. “Most should begin now: only 42 percent say they have effective patient communication.”

Another discovery is that online reputation is often overlooked, despite the impact of patient reviews, and most practices have a weak market presence.

Less than half—47.5%--of those surveyed who manage patient communication on their own, say they do it effectively.

There were several changes in the past decade that has increased the stress and demand for healthcare providers and medical practice owners.

Some of those changes included new electronic health recorders (EHR) that challenged the way doctors interact with patients, which are used in nearly 90% of all medical offices and the shrinking of insurance reimbursements while increasing the complexity of the programs.

Despite a desire for greater ease and fewer requirements amongst physicians, 89% of providers had a positive experience in private practice.

Also, the majority of those surveyed (72.7%) are satisfied with their own level of success, while only 11% of providers are dissatisfied with their own level of success.

The survey shows 67.2% of providers find delivering a top in-person patient experience as the most important factor to a practice’s success. Other choices that garnered more than 25% were communicating with patients digitally, having strong online patient reviews, and ranking high in online search results.

Healthcare providers overwhelmingly want their day to be easier, with efficiency and time at the top of the list of what they want most for their practices.

The authors found how practice success spans a number of key performance goals including effective patient communication (42.2%), effective office workflow (33.2%), ideal patient volume (31.8%), and strong revenue (26.9%).

Of the providers that consider patient reviews important, 29.9% were more likely to report strong revenue, 28.8% were more likely to report effective patient communication, 22.4% were more likely to report strong market visibility, and 18.5% were more likely to report efficient office workflow.

About 25% of providers do not currently address their online reputation. Of this subgroup of providers, 52% are less likely to report having strong revenue and only 7.1 percent say they have strong visibility in their market.

In the frustrations section, nearly half of the respondents reported insurance tasks as a major practice frustration, while 40% call EHR workflow and usability as a major practice frustration.

PatientPop was founded in 2014 in response to doctors claiming they did not know how to connect with patients searching for care online. Since the company’s inception, the digital evolution has grown even greater, where patients have as many care options as ever before. The 2020 practice growth survey was conducted online in October 2019, with 346 healthcare providers responding.

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