Meet Michael Engle, Chief Administrative Officer for Emergence Healthcare Group
Throughout his 40-year career as a medical administrator, Michael Engle — Chief Administrative Officer for Emergence Healthcare Group — has first-hand seen physician's challenges.
Mike’s journey to Emergence started with one of his first jobs out of high school at a small private practice office and included a stop at a 25,000-doctor medical group where he served as the Vice President of Operations. Just about every day, he watched physicians get the short end of the stick. He heard their concerns around being stuck managing the business side of a private practice, to frustrations with the “one-size-fits-all” bureaucratic rules of large medical groups.
Over and over, he saw how their priorities of spending more time with patients, creating a work-life balance, and avoiding paperwork came in second place.
When Mike and Emergence Healthcare Group co-founder Jae Chun met years ago, he knew Jae had an idea percolating. When he saw the launch of Emergence, it didn’t take long for Mike to jump on board.
We caught up with Mike to learn more about his 40-plus year career in healthcare and why he thinks the time is right for Emergence.
Why did you decide to enter the healthcare space?
When I was in high school, my neighbor was a doctor who ran his practice. I was interested in pursuing a career in medicine, so he hired me as a front office assistant and gave me the chance to sit in on a few procedures. Seeing him in action quickly cured me of my desire to become a physician — but I knew I wasn’t done with healthcare.
As his office manager, I was responsible for appointment scheduling, insurance reimbursements, and paperwork. I saw a lot of opportunities for efficiencies and improvements in these practice management processes. This experience led me to pursue an undergraduate degree with a focus in business and ultimately a master’s in business administration, all so I could continue my career in the healthcare space. I’ve never looked back!
What is the most frequent concern you hear from physicians?
For physicians running a private practice, the number one complaint I’ve heard over and over again is the burden of having to spend time managing a business. In larger medical systems, physicians are concerned with a “one-size-fits-all” bureaucratic approach that includes everything from the number of medical assistants assigned to their offices to the required schedules they’re given.
At the end of the day, physicians across practice types have expressed a desire for independence, but there are so many costs associated with that independence that they find themselves having to make tradeoffs in lose-lose situations that slowly drains the joy out of being a doctor. It’s no surprise that we’re seeing medical professionals leaving the profession — they’re being pulled in so many directions that they don’t enjoy practicing medicine anymore.
What is the favorite part of your job?
I get to be an advocate for physicians! I’ve seen physicians overlooked so many times over the course of my career. But through my experience working directly with physicians for so many years, I have consistently been able to speak up on their behalf; point out the flaws in existing systems, the frustrations physicians were experiencing, and the real dangers of not making physicians a priority. That’s why I’m happy working with Emergence — physicians are at the center of the business.
Why did you decide to join Emergence?
I finally saw a solution for physicians! The independence that so many wanted to experience, the freedom from burdens associated with running a business, and the fact that the doctor is the client were the only places I saw that understood the problems physicians were facing. Making their professional lives better is the entire reason we’re here. We bring logic and efficiencies to the business side of medicine, without interfering with the vital work physicians do every day. That’s why I believe so strongly in the Emergence promise.
Why do you think now is the time for something like Emergence?
Until now, there’s been no one looking out for physicians. And today, everyone is expecting better from their work. So as physicians experience burnout, and as more and more people are questioning their work-life balance, physicians are ready for a new option — an option like Emergence.