A New Survey Approach
by Leslie Flores
SHM and the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) have enjoyed a successful survey collaboration for the past two years. Working together under a survey collaboration agreement to jointly conduct comprehensive annual surveys of HM groups, the two entities have been able to provide an unprecedented amount of high-quality information for members—not only data about hospitalist compensation and productivity, but also about many other aspects of the ways hospitalists and HM groups function.
And while SHM’s relationship with MGMA remains strong, all good things must come to an end—or at least change considerably.
MGMA is headed in new strategic directions that require a reallocation of its existing survey operations department resources. As a result, SHM and MGMA have agreed to change the way they work together, and this will have some important implications for the types of compensation and productivity data that will be available to hospitalists in the future.
MGMA will continue to conduct its regular surveys, including capturing compensation and productivity data for hospitalists. But instead of incorporating a hospital medicine supplement as it has for the last two years, SHM will instead conduct a separate survey each year to collect additional information about the characteristics of HM practices.
The SHM survey will be launched in January to coincide with the launch of MGMA’s Physician Compensation and Production Survey; in fact, academic groups that participated in MGMA’s Academic Practice Compensation and Production Survey for Faculty and Management this fall might already have noticed that the survey no longer included a hospital medicine supplement. SHM is encouraging hospitalists to participate in both the applicable MGMA survey and the companion SHM survey.
SHM will then license MGMA’s compensation and productivity data for both academic and nonacademic hospitalists, then will combine it with the results of its separate SHM survey to create the 2012 State of Hospital Medicine report.
The good news is that this approach will enable SHM to have greater flexibility to design surveys and analyze results in ways that best meet the needs of its constituents, and SHM will also be able to continue to provide survey information annually, rather than going back to the old biannual format.
However, some of the more detailed looks at compensation and productivity data will be lost; those data glimpses only were possible when the supplemental survey was integrated with MGMA’s survey instruments. Such data for 2012 will only be available for national, hospital-employed vs. not-hospital-employed, and geographic region cohorts.
Like the hospitalists it surveys, this report has changed every time it has been conducted. And SHM depends on its members to make sure it is delivering the kind of information that effectively, efficiently, and profitably guides hospitalists’ decisions.
Together, SHM and MGMA have been working to find the right balance that enables MGMA to pursue new strategies and still gives hospitalists the data they need. Ultimately, hospitalists will be the judges of whether the right balance has been struck.
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