"Traditionally, a physician is trained to be an independent thinker and do what they think is best, but integrated systems are there for the benefit of the patient, not the practitioner," Deveny said. "I've always been cautious to say whether employing physicians will improve their jobs."
Deveny also expressed concerns about physicians feeling like they were simply a cog in a machine, rather than a doctor actually treating patients. "When the IT guy or finance person doesn't meet your needs, you get frustrated," he commented.
A very real issue is ensuring that physicians feel a sense of purpose and that they are valued by the organization that employs them. While only 20 percent of those who responded to the ACPE's study disagreed that the physicians employed by their organization were satisfied by the current employment model, some remain skeptical.
"This is still too new. The growth has been too dramatic in the last two to three years. People are still trying to figure out who is their partner and what they're all about," said Deveny, pointing out that after mergers and acquisitions, many physicians now work for strangers who did not hire them and are still trying to figure out their place within their systems.