The number of physician office visits is expected to increase 2% annually for the next 10 years. At the same time, other non-acute segments are also experiencing growth. Ambulatory surgery centers have been growing at about 5% annually. The number of retail-based clinics has more than doubled in the past three years, and the number of community health centers increased 22% from 2010 to 2015.
Physicians face bigger challenges than ever as demand for healthcare grows, including staff shortages and burnout, adoption of new technologies, and patients demanding more convenient care. As a result, more new physicians are choosing hospital employment over independent practice. At least 25% of hospital executives said this year they still plan to purchase more physician practices. Organizations that employ physicians must find ways to keep doctors engaged and to stave off early retirements. Increasing acceptance of telemedicine could help mitigate provider shortages. Some 800,000 online telehealth consultations took place in 2015, and both physicians and health systems are increasingly embracing these technologies, although barriers remain.
Every physician faces a major decision by the end of this year. MACRA, the Medicare Access & CHIP Reauthorization Act, requires physicians to choose between two different payment models: Merit-Based Incentive Programs (MIPS) or Advanced Alternative Payment Models (AAPMs). Physicians will have to weigh bonus options against increased financial risk-sharing. MACRA, also known colloquially as the 'permanent doc fix,’ repealed the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula that could have significantly cut physician salaries.
GHX Sales Data
Physician office sales represented 12.32% of the total $42.3 billion in reported sales of medical-surgical products through distribution for calendar year 2015. This is an increase from 11.84% the prior year. The Global Healthcare Exchange Market Intelligence programalso reports top products by dollars sold and top specialties by distributor dollar sales.