A group practice is a group of doctors, dentists, nurse practitioners (NPs), physician assistants (PAs), and possibly other healthcare providers who practice together. Group practice providers share their individual knowledge, skills and resources to provide specialized and coordinated care to patients.
A group practice may be a small group of providers that share a physical space, often located in a clinic, hospital department, or medical or dental office. Group practices may also be large and include hundreds of providers as part of an organized system of care, such as a large health plan or hospital system.
Patients benefit by the medical knowledge of all specialists in a group practice. Group practices may specialize in an area of care (e.g., cardiac care) and include various specialists (e.g., cardiologist and cardiac surgeon). Together, these specialists provide comprehensive and efficient care to patients with simple to complex conditions. For example, a critically ill patient with advanced kidney disease can benefit from the expertise of a provider practice that includes specialists in nephrology and critical care medicine.
Many group practices design care strategies to anticipate patient needs, prevent complications, maintain optimal health and function, and improve quality of care. To help in this goal, group practices frequently include other specialized healthcare professionals. This can include a counselor, dental hygienist, diabetes educator, dietician-nutritionist, and specialized registered nurses (RNs). For example, an orthopedic or sports medicine practice may include physical therapists and athletic trainers as part of the practice.
Teamwork across specialties in a group practice is coordinated through the use of electronic health records; dedicated care managers (or care coordinators); evidence-based, recommended care guidelines; and systematic monitoring of quality and efficiency.
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