The Changing Roles of Physicians

By Kay Wysong, CMSR Director of Physician Recruitment for Primary Care
Methodist Health System

Everyone’s talking about how health care is changing. While it’s true that all stakeholders are being impacted, physicians are in the eye of the storm. With more than 27 years of experience in recruiting physicians, I view these changes from a slightly different perspective — through the eyes of the physician.

While recruiting physicians has always been a challenge, the task has become much more competitive over the past few years. There are several reasons for this. First, health care reform is shifting the focus from treating illness to promoting wellness. Critical to this model is the primary care physician, family practitioner, or internist who coordinates every aspect of his or her patient’s care with the goal of maintaining the individual’s optimum state of well-being. While the care model is sound, the reality is that the pool of primary care physicians has shrunk over the years. This is mostly due to the payment model that has encouraged providing more care and performing more tests. In this model, specialists have flourished, leaving few incentives for medical school graduates to choose primary care as their career.

The second trend that has been encouraged by health care reform is the move away from sole practitioners to large multispecialty group practices. In addition, new physicians are coming into the field with a different set of expectations than their predecessors. Quality of personal life is becoming just as important as quality of professional life. Stability, predictability, and fewer work demands are the new paradigm that medical school graduates are bringing to the table when recruiters are wooing them to consider joining their medical staffs. This translates to higher rates of hospital or health system employment of physicians.

The days of physicians joining a hospital medical staff and staying until they retire are over. They have become much more mobile, according to a survey by Cejka Search, Inc. and the American Medical Group Association. Nearly half leave their jobs within three years and almost two-thirds leave within five years. Why? Four in 10 say they leave because of poor cultural fit and practice difference, 20 percent leave because of location, 20 percent because of compensation issues, and 10 percent leave due to spouse issues or broken promises. For a physician recruiter, this means one thing: Physician loyalty is pretty much a thing of the past.

But for Methodist Health System, there is good news when you look at the data above. We have been successful in our recruitment efforts for several key reasons:

  • Methodist has an excellent reputation for top-down support of physicians that has resulted in a highly satisfied medical staff, and it is known for serving the community in ways that appeal to physicians.
  • Methodist proactively participates in providing learning opportunities for physicians thanks to medical residencies in family practice, internal medicine, obstetrics/gynecology, and general surgery.
  • Methodist is a strategic, growing organization. In fact, Methodist has doubled its size in the last five years. Because we carefully select the markets where we place hospitals and clinics, physicians are afforded the opportunity to develop a larger share of market more quickly, growing their patient base and stabilizing their practices.

In my next blog, I’ll tell you how the process of physician recruitment has changed over the years and how social media and online channels are playing a much more significant role in attracting physicians to Methodist.

If you’re ready to consider integrating your primary care practice into Methodist Health System, contact Kay Wysong at Or, for  medical and surgical specialists, contact Susan Hellman at, or visit We look forward to exploring these opportunities together.

©Methodist Health System