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Accenture: Only One-Third of Physicians to Remain Independent by 2013

A new survey conducted by Accenture (NYSE: ACN) shows that U.S. community-based physicians continue to sell their private practices and seek employment with healthcare systems, with the rate of independent physicians employed by health systems projected to grow by an annual 5 percent over the next three years.

The report, titled “Clinical Transformation: Dramatic Changes as Physician Employment Grows,” predicts that less than one-third of physicians are expected to remain truly independent by 2013, down from 57 percent in 2000 and 43 percent in 2009.

Accenture says that changes in healthcare employment trends could result in greater challenges for companies looking to reach the physician market and hospitals enhancing expertise and boosting patient volumes and revenues in high-growth service lines, among others. The report was positive on the subject of advantages to employment by health systems, saying that relief from administrative tasks and a more manageable work week are among the benefits.

“”To stay competitive in this transformed landscape, health ecosystem stakeholders — medical device makers, healthcare IT developers, pharmaceutical companies — will see their target customers shift from individual, self-employed physicians or doctor-owned practices toward hospitals and health systems,” the report stated. “Selling to these larger corporate purchasers will require new strategies for segmenting customers and for marketing and distributing offerings.”

The report consisted of interviews conducted in person and via telephone with C-suite hospital executives and industry stakeholders between September and November 2010.

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