Research from the AMA shows that employed physicians now exceed those who own their practices, yet many doctors yearn for the independence and other attractions of private practice. But that practice mode can come with the administrative headaches of running a small business while trying to deliver top-notch care.
Now a company wants to shake up the new normal by giving physicians a path to set up their own practices in a way they can focus on practicing medicine without having to worry about needing an MBA—and lot of extra time—to run the business side of things.
Emergence Healthcare Group is the latest company to spin out of Health2047, the wholly-owned innovation subsidiary of the AMA created to overcome systemic dysfunction in the U.S. health care. The new company will offer physicians a “turnkey practice” solution.
The company will:
- Lease and maintain the clinic space.
- Hire, train and manage the nonclinical professionals, including front-desk staff, medical assistants, schedulers and others.
- Complete day-to-day administrative management, including practice management systems, EHRs, billing, collections and revenue cycle.
- Manage marketing, advertising and growth.
- Handle reporting and analytics.
- Take care of customer service and patient experience
“It’s a bundled service,” said Jae Chun, Emergence’s founder and CEO. “Right now, physicians can find all of these a la carte services with different companies. The challenge is that when they do that, they are managing all of these disparate services trying to get them to work together to help run their practice.
“What we are saying,” he added, “is that we are going to integrate these services that work better together and we are going to manage all of that so you don’t have to.”
Resources from the AMA can help physicians start and sustain a successful private practice, learn the landscape of private practice, discover different business models and more.
Here’s how it will work
Emergence’s business model takes some of the successes that companies such as Starbucks, WeWork and Amazon Marketplace have seen—think locations in the community and services and infrastructure offered to small businesses—and applies the concepts in a physician practice setting, Chun said.
Now, physicians’ administrative responsibilities on average gobble up more than 20% of their time and more than 50% to 60% of their revenue. Emergence aims to give private practice physicians back a lot of that time and improve a practice’s profitability by helping them benefit from the economies of scale inherent in their model.
Emergence will provide conveniently located office space for physicians to use—spaces in or near retail locations where people can get a cup of coffee, have lunch or do other errands as COVID-19 vaccination rises and life’s normal hustle and bustle return.
A physician can choose how many days a week they plan to locate their practice at that location and, on those days, they would have exam rooms assigned for their practice.
Emergence will staff the front desk of that office as well as the medical assistants. The company’s employees will also manage the EHR the physician uses. They will also handle the billing and collections and all the other tasks they are legally allowed to perform to keep an independent practice running smoothly and growing.
Emergence’s business model, he said, lets physicians focus on what they spent years in training to do: Take care of patients.
“We are trying to take as much as we can off their plate so they truly can focus on being physicians and take care of patients and so when they go home, it’s their time,” Chun said.
Physicians will pay a percentage of what their practice charges for the turnkey service. Chun said they plan to start in the San Francisco Bay Area later this year and expand to other areas.