Selection of a practice setting affects duty hours, practice autonomy, institutional relationships, administrative responsibilities, personal finances, and professional satisfaction. To identify national trends in practice settings reported by the College, we evaluated responses by Fellows (and Junior Fellows) in active practice from six College surveys on professional liability issues between 1992 and 2012. Although half of Fellows remained in an independent private practice, a decline was observed among solo health care practitioners (from 32% in 1992 to 19% in 2012). Direct employment increased either in hospital systems (from 5% to 15%) or as academic faculty (from 9% to 12%). The proportion of Fellows employed by either health maintenance organizations (from 4% to 2%) or the government (2%) remained low. We anticipate that practice settings will be increasingly influenced by health care reform, team-based care with use of nonphysician clinicians, physician age, and increasing subspecialization. Future surveys of Fellows about their practice settings, preferably required at the time of Maintenance of Certification, will aid in evaluating practice settings and their influence on quality of care, cost containment, and health care provider satisfaction.
The proportion of American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (College) Fellows currently in an independent private practice, especially in solo settings, has decreased, whereas those directly employed by an institution has increased.
Fellowship Division, American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Washington, DC; and the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of New Mexico School of Medicine, Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Corresponding author: William F. Rayburn, MD, MBA, University of New Mexico School of Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, MSC10 5580, 1 University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The authors thank Jeffrey Klagholz, BS (Fellowship Division, American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecologists) and Cristina Murray-Krezan, MS (Clinical and Translational Research Center, University of New Mexico) for data collection, analysis, and editorial assistance.
Presented in part at the 2013 Annual Clinical Meeting of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, March 4–8, 2013, New Orleans, Louisiana.
Financial Disclosure Dr. Rayburn is a special consultant on physician workforce issues for the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. The other author did not report any potential conflicts of interest.