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Remote work options increase, but telehealth is down in 2022


AMGA publishes data on medical group management processes.

Remote work options increase, but telehealth is down in 2022

Staffing tactics, staffing structure, telehealth, and burnout all were part of the management processes for medical groups in 2022.

The American Medical Group Association (AMGA) published its “2022 Medical Group Operations and Finance Survey Report” based on 2021 data from 37 medical groups around the country.

Respondents included 21 system-affiliated groups and 15 independent groups. System-affiliated medical groups were categorized as exclusively multispecialty with primary care, and 63% of the independent organizations were multispecialty with primary care.

Staffing tactics

“Due to staffing challenges in 2021, many medical groups made changes in staffing tactics,” the report said.

A full 93% of medical groups reported offering virtual or remote work options and salary increases to match market demand. Every system-affiliated group offered more pay to match market demand, the report said.

Revamping the hiring and onboarding processes happened in 86% of all groups – and 100% of the system-affiliated groups – while 83% of all groups reported allowing job sharing/schedule flexibility, and use of referral bonuses. For independent groups, offering virtual or remote work options was the most popular staffing tactic to lure or keep staff at 94%, and it was the second-place tactic for health system groups at 92%.

Work and patients from home

Even with more remote work options, it appeared most clinicians and patients were heading to the office for their respective duties and visits. All groups reported a median of 7.5% of overall staff works remotely, and an average of 2.1% of clinical staff working remotely.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth visits spiked in the second quarter of 2020, with primary care telehealth visits topping more than 25%. But the figures across primary care, medical, and surgical specialties dropped in the third quarter of 2020 and have been steady or declining since then, the report said.

For all providers last year, primary care visits were 92.5% in-person and 7.5% using telehealth or virtual visits. Medical specialty visits used telehealth less (5.6%) and surgical specialty visits were lower still (2.2%).

Staffing structure

Increasing telehealth or virtual care options was the most popular change to staffing structure, followed by increasing the number of advanced practice clinicians in system-affiliated groups (58%) and independent groups (54%).

Engagement and burnout

It appeared at least some health groups had formal committees or programs to address employee engagement and burnout.

For system-based groups, 80% had committees or programs for provider and staff engagement, and 67% had them for burnout. Independent groups trailed for engagement and burnout, with 27% making formal committees or programs to alleviate staff burnout.

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