Physician Ownership: An Investment in Patient-Centric Care

Physician owners deliver better patient-centric care. With local autonomy and national resources, a partnership model can lead to higher physician satisfaction and engagement, collaboration, and improved clinical outcomes.

Theo Koury, MD, President of Vituity

Theo Koury , MD

President of Vituity

Published March 15, 2023

Empowered Physicians Take Charge

A Challenging Landscape

Health systems are under increasing pressure to deliver patient-first care. The pandemic, changing consumer preferences, and disruption by retail and virtual clinics have all underscored the cracks in our facility-based care models. To compete going forward, health systems must deliver care on patients’ terms—how, when, and where they want it.

In facing these challenges, health systems rely heavily on collaborating with their physicians to innovate solutions that meet the health needs of their communities. However, medicine is embroiled in its own burnout crisis, with a record number of providers at all levels reporting at least one manifestation of burnout—including decreased engagement. This begs the question: How can our industry most effectively nurture and retain the front-line expertise necessary to bring ingenious problem-solving to today’s greatest care delivery challenges?

Ownership Supports Patient-Centered Care

Historically, healthcare organizations have been risk-averse and slow to adapt. While physicians are in a much better position to innovate, in many of the profit-driven sectors of our industry, they’re too often constrained by cultural inertia and financial pressures, plus the demanding pace and emotional intensity of care delivery.

Provider groups owned and led by physicians have distinct advantages in today’s environment regarding solving industry challenges and nurturing a resilient clinical workforce. Groups with this model cover a wide spectrum, from wholly owned physician partnerships with a high degree of autonomy to mixed models partially backed by outside investors. Likewise, physician-owned groups can range in size from solo practitioners to large national practices with thousands of partners.

Overall, physician-owned groups experience fewer profit pressures, which allows them to keep the patient at the center of decision-making. They operate in aligned ecosystems where what’s best for patients ultimately will also benefit physicians and the health system as a whole. And they typically have programs in place that directly promote provider wellness and deliver resources to alleviate burnout. This allows a patient-first focus to drive everything they do, from continually seeking improvements in care delivery to developing and implementing care innovations.

Providers burn out faster when they feel their voices aren’t heard and that their input doesn’t matter in making decisions about care delivery. Including them in engaged conversations around new solutions is an essential tool in combatting burnout, and their involvement is critical in developing solutions to solve problems they see daily.

Local Autonomy with National Support

As a multispecialty partnership owned and led by our more than 3,500 physicians, Vituity’s unique ownership delivers local autonomy with the backing and infrastructure of a national organization. This additional support layer removes many of the administrative burdens of independent practices. It also provides our clinical teams with billing, education, IT, recruiting, and everything else behind the scenes so we can focus on our real passion: medicine.

The many benefits of Vituity’s 100%-owned physician model include:

orange checkmark  Greater physician satisfaction and engagement. Equitable ownership (partnership) offers the highest level of autonomy of all physician enterprise models. Physician owners often have considerable power over matters like scheduling, staffing, and spending. This gives them more leeway for innovation and creative problem-solving, directly benefiting their practice while reducing burnout.

orange checkmark  Collaborative mindset. Because they have “skin in the game,” physician owners are motivated to help health systems succeed. They tend to be engaged within the larger organization, working on initiatives and serving on committees. They also have more incentive to work closely with other departments to improve clinical integration and care transitions.

orange checkmark  Improved clinical outcomes. Like their employed counterparts, most physician owners follow standardized care protocols. However, their skin in the game motivates them to achieve the best clinical outcomes, as it directly impacts their practice’s success.

A Passion for Care

As a physician-owned and -led organization, we’re uniquely positioned to empower our teams to build the future of healthcare. Our work today builds a lasting foundation for future patients, largely dependent on a resilient and engaged workforce that remains committed and passionate to our cause. We all have a part to play in delivering the best care to our patients, and it’s important not to lose sight that what’s good for our patients is also typically a benefit to our health systems and providers as well.

Partnering to improve patient lives

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