Docs Feel Lack of Control Over Practice Finances

Busy with paperwork or practicing medicine, many physicians don't have the time to handle the business side of medicine. As a result, the vast majority of physicians report they feel they have no control over their practice's finances.

With all of the growth and regulatory changes in health care, physicians have their hands full with just doing their jobs of practicing medicine. Yet they still have to handle the business side of medicine. A new study revealed that three-quarters of doctors feel they do not have control over the financial aspects of their businesses.

The study, completed by ADP AdvancedMD and Sermo, surveyed 300 physicians in family medicine, internal medicine, obstetrics/gynecology and pediatrics specialties. The results showed that 74% felt they did not have financial control. According to

ADP AdvancedMD, the results of this survey show that there is a need for stronger tracking and goal setting among medical practices.

"These findings validate what we've seen in the marketplace over the past few years — in particular, physicians are finding managing the finances of their practices increasingly challenging," Raul Villar, president of ADP AdvancedMD, said in a statement.

PMD’s columnist Jeff Brown, MD, often hammers home the point that doctors don’t receive enough (or any) business, organizational or financial training alongside their medical education.

The ADP AdvancedMD/Sermo study comes just months after one that revealed 26% of primary care physicians reported they were in poor financial health.

Only one-third of physicians are using cloud practice management and electronic health records (EHR), according to the report. Plus only 56% say their EHR is integrated with their management system, which would be more effective and efficient for claims processing.

“Technology has come a long way in providing physicians with more freedom and flexibility to balance their busy lives, as well as providing tools for improving the patient experience and financial health of their practices,” Villar said in a statement. “Cloud practice software offering state-of-the-art revenue collection capabilities, accessible from anywhere, can play a significant role in helping to improve finances and saving private practices."

The study also found that half of physicians evaluate their financial performance and compare it with similar practices. More than half (across all specialties) see patient count increasing, which will at least partially be a result of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Other than ACA, more than half of respondents cited Medicare payment reductions and the impact of ICD-10 as concerns.