Over the last two decades, clinician group practices in the US have grown and changed significantly in terms of health professional team composition.1 Whereas in the past, physicians were largely self-employed or part of small practices, today, many clinicians are employed by healthcare organizations in large group practices or, increasingly, in mid-sized, single-specialty groups.1,2
The reasons behind the movement toward group practices, such as profitability, lifestyle, and improved quality of patient care, have been well documented in the medical literature.3 According to the American Medical Association’s Physician Practice Benchmark Surveys, only 49.1% of physicians identified as working in a practice and approximately 40% reported working for a hospital or health system.2 Data analysis of this survey suggests a rapid acceleration to larger group practice models since 2018, with 2020 seeing a 17% increase of physicians working in practices with 50+ providers.2
Larger practice models also benefit from increased collaboration between providers. A small study of multidisciplinary team huddles in a hospital setting found that 15-20 team meetings enhanced teamwork and communication between providers and helped reduce clinical errors and patient incidents.4 Working with other providers on cases can help a clinician approach care from a different angle, especially if the condition is complex or unresponsive to initial treatment.
In the following video, IFM certified practitioner David Brady, ND, discusses what it’s like to practice functional medicine in a group setting and how he conducts an initial functional medicine consultation.
Dr. Brady is a licensed naturopathic medical physician in Connecticut and Vermont. He is one of the foremost authorities on properly diagnosing and treating fibromyalgia and has been featured on Dr. Oz and NPR. Dr. Brady has also had his work published in peer-reviewed medical journals, including Open Journal of Rheumatology and Autoimmune Diseases and Integrative Medicine: A Clinician’s Journal.
Having witnessed his mother suffer through the medical system, Dr. Brady is uniquely passionate not only as a doctor but also as a patient advocate, ensuring that patients receive compassionate care and meaningful results. “I think, in the IFM paradigm, it’s essential to get to know that patient, to connect with them and to really get a detailed history on where it all started,” says Dr. Brady. “So I will learn the antecedents and triggers and all parts of their chronic disease process.”
For more spotlights on clinicians practicing functional medicine, please read the following IFM-authored articles:
- Kash B, Tan D. Physician group practice trends: a comprehensive review. J Hosp Med Manag. Published online March 21, 2016. doi:4172/2471-9781.100008
- Kane CK. Policy research perspectives – recent changes in physician practice arrangements: private practice dropped to less than 50 percent of physicians in 2020. American Medical Association. Published May 2021. Accessed June 15, 2023. https://www.ama-assn.org/system/files/2021-05/2020-prp-physician-practice-arrangements.pdf
- The Physicians Foundation. 2014 Survey of America’s physicians: practice patterns and perspectives. The Physicians Foundation. Published September 16, 2014. Accessed June 15, 2023. https://physiciansfoundation.org/focus-areas/2014-survey-of-americas-physicians-practice-patterns-and-perspectives/
- Lin SP, Chang CW, Wu CY, et al. The effectiveness of multidisciplinary team huddles in healthcare hospital-based setting. J Multidiscip Healthc. 2022;15:2241-2247. doi:2147/JMDH.S384554