Physician relations, economic uncertainty and IT issues were a few of the challenges that medical group practice management professionals addressed in new online research from the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA), of Englewood, Colo.

In the MGMA 2008 “Medical Practice Today: What members have to say” survey, MGMA members rated their experiences dealing with managing these challenges while safeguarding their practices’ financial solvency.

The research indicates that the top five major challenges of running a group practice are: maintaining physician compensation in an environment of declining reimbursement, dealing with operating costs that are rising more rapidly than revenue, selecting and implementing a new electronic health record system, recruiting physicians, and managing finances with the uncertainty of Medicare reimbursement rates.

Conducted online in March 2008, the poll asked members who manage medical group practices to rate their level of challenge on 34 practice and professional issues. Written comments were also encouraged. In total, MGMA received 1,393 responses, representing a 12 percent response rate, and more than 500 written comments.

Almost all respondents (95.7 percent) said they saw themselves as professionals in their role as group practice leaders. A little more than half (56.5 percent) of respondents agreed with the statement that physicians in their practice believe medical practice management is a profession.

The full cover story is featured in the July 2008 issue of MGMA Connexion magazine.