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Perm J. 2009 Spring;13(2):31-6.

An exploratory case study: effects of a physician organizational socialization (enculturation) program.


This article presents compelling data supporting a comprehensive enculturation program for physicians entering a medical group practice and fills a void in the literature about improving the process whereby physicians can more effectively enter a medical group. As far back as 1999, a study noted that physicians joining the Mayo Clinic physician group took five years to be fully integrated into the medical group. Further research was called for, yet no studies on enculturation of physicians into a medical group have been reported. Unlike medical science, in which double-blind studies are the gold standard for proving a hypothesis of care, double-blind studies are essentially impossible to conduct in the social sciences. However, what can sometimes be identified are patterns of behavior that although they fail the test of a double-blind study can be helpful in decision making when it comes to individual and group behavior. It is in that spirit that I conducted a social science exploratory case study. In the midst of a challenging year of conversion to an electronic medical record, the survey had a 40% response rate with compelling comments on the effects of the program. The study suggests that the enculturation program provided those queried a clearer understanding of the complexities of a large integrated medical group, with much earlier integration into a large medical group in contradistinction to the Mayo Clinic study. This study is important because of the lack of research in the area of enculturation of physicians into large medical groups.

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