athenahealth, Inc. (Nasdaq:ATHN), a leading provider of cloud-based services and mobile tools for medical groups and health systems, today announced results from the ninth annual Epocrates Future Physicians of America survey, in which more than 1,400 medical students shared their opinions about medical school training and industry challenges. Results from the survey conducted by athenahealth and Epocrates highlight key findings and several notable trends:
Students Seek the Security of Large Provider Employment — The percentage of medical students who will seek employment with a hospital or large group practice has risen to 73 percent, while the percentage of those who aspire to private practice has dwindled to 10 percent—a 50 percent drop since 2008. Students cite a desire for work-life balance and a work environment free of administrative hassle as factors that drove their feedback. Also noted by nearly 60 percent of medical students was a dissatisfaction with the instruction they receive related to practice management and ownership, as well as a lack of training for billing and coding.
Arvind Ravinutala, a third-year at University of Southern California School of Medicine, believes the current system provides few incentives to pursue private practice. “Training is structured around group and hospital settings, so the average student learns nothing about running a practice. Plus, hospital employers promise candidates a stress-free environment where they can focus on being a doctor without incurring further debt. For most, the choice is obvious.”
Enthusiasm for Care Coordination is High But Stymied by Poor Communication — An impressive 96 percent of students believe that to deliver high quality care, it is important to collaborate effectively with extended care teams, which can include registered nurses, physician assistants, specialists, and medical staff. Meanwhile, nearly 60 percent consider lack of communication between care teams the biggest obstacle to effective care coordination. Concerns about inadequate cross-team communication was acknowledged by 75 percent of students surveyed with the prediction that the fluid sharing of data between electronic health record (EHR) systems, also known as interoperability, will advance health care—and possibly reduce the fragmentation of care within the next 10 years.
Michael Douglas, a third-year at Loma Linda University of Medicine in California, is concerned by the absence of adequate technology to bridge the communication gap. “Communication tools are broken or antiquated, and this impedes our ability to provide continuity of care for patients. Despite a clear need for quick, efficient, and secure ways to communicate with and across teams, we’re still stuck in the 90’s using archaic paging systems and fax machines.”
athenahealth is a leading provider of cloud-based services for electronic health records (EHR), revenue cycle management and medical billing, patient engagement, care coordination, and population health management, as well as Epocrates and other point-of-care mobile apps. We connect care and drive meaningful, measurable results for more than 59,000 health care providers in medical practices and health systems nationwide. For more information, please visit www.athenahealth.com.