Objectives: Physician productivity, practice expense, resource allocation, facilities, staff, and malpractice are variables in medical practice profitability. The ongoing challenge of collecting reliable and consistent data created an opportunity in 2001 for the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP) Practice Administration Network (PAN) to develop a practice-based survey that measured the variables most related to the bottom line.
Methods: The PAN designed a comprehensive practice survey in 2001 that has been distributed to > 2,000 ACCP members each year. The specialty-specific survey differed from those offered in the market, as its aim was to capture information about pulmonary, critical care, and sleep practices. The single-answer survey included practice expense categories and those related to accounts receivable management. An on-line survey vendor (www.surveymonkey.com) was selected as the platform based on broad functionality and a flexible architecture.
Results: The survey was conducted each June for 5 consecutive years. In 2001, survey respondents represented 68 pulmonary physicians. By 2005, 229 practices responded representing 774 individual physicians. Participants included members of ACCP Leadership, ACCP Committees, and related networks, and past survey participants. The data are presented in graphic format as a percentage of total respondents.
Conclusion: The survey offered participants a mechanism to contrast and compare specialty-based trends in practice expense, staffing levels, clinical services, malpractice cost, facilities utilization, and financial management strategies of “better performing” practices. It has served as the groundwork for related Practice Management Committee and Practice Management Department initiatives. The ACCP anticipates future survey collaboration with the Medical Group Management Association.