Practice and payment preferences of newly practising family physicians in British Columbia.
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OBJECTIVE: To examine the remuneration model preferences of newly practising family physicians. DESIGN: Mixed-methods study comprising a cross-sectional, Web-based survey, as well as qualitative content analysis of answers to open-ended questions. SETTING: British Columbia. PARTICIPANTS: University of British Columbia family practice residents who graduated between 2000 and 2009. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Preferred remuneration models of newly practising physicians. RESULTS: The survey response rate was 31% (133 of 430). Of respondents, 71% (93 of 132) preferred non-fee-for-service practice models and 86% (110 of 132) identified the payment model as very or somewhat important in their choice of future practice. Three principal themes were identified from content analysis of respondents' open-ended comments: frustrations with fee-for-service billing, which encompassed issues related to aggravations with "the business side of things" and was seen as impeding "the freedom to focus on medicine"; quality of patient care, which embraced the importance of a payment model that supported "comprehensive patient care" and "quality rather than quantity"; and freedom to choose, which supported the plurality of practice preferences among providers who strived to provide quality care for patients, "whatever model you happen to be working in." CONCLUSION: Newly practising physicians in British Columbia preferred alternatives to fee-for-service payment models, which were perceived as contributing to fewer frustrations with billing systems, improved quality of work life, and better quality of patient care.