A similar variation is seen regarding the impact accountable care organizations. A plurality of 42% says that ACOs will strain hospital-physician relations, 35% say it will improve relations, and 22% say it will have no effect. Healthcare leaders are also concerned about physician shortages in key specialties and see that as a threat to hospital-physician alignment strategies. At least 27% say physician shortages pose a very serious threat to hospital-physician alignment strategies and 21% say that physician-owned outpatient organizations competing with a hospital will be a very serious threat to physician-hospital alignment strategies,
"There's going to be a refocus, in my view, on the critical role of the primary care physician, so hospitals and health systems want to acquire as many as they can find," Samitt says.
Reflecting the overall split in attitudes, almost 12% of respondents say employed physicians are completely engaged in patient care, but nearly 10% say they are totally unengaged. Regarding nonemployed physicians, a meager 2% are considered completely engaged, while 5% are considered totally unengaged.
"I think engagement is always a problem, no matter what industry you are in," Samitt says. "I think organizations are right to realize that physician engagement is what probably equates most to success, but not all organizations are very good at it."