Better Practice Management Can Keep Independent Medical Practices from Falling Behind
One of the main differences between high-performing medical practices and practices that are falling behind is the technology they use. High-performing practices are more likely to embrace new IT and care-management tools, and those that are under-performing are more likely to view these new technologies as just another government-mandated headache to deal with.
This is according to EHR provider CareCloud, which recently released a 2017 Practice Performance Index that studied the views of more than2,000 physicians and practice administrators who took part in an online survey last March and April.
Medical practices that perform at a high level have more satisfied doctors and patients, and are more likely to add new locations and staff. They are also more likely to implement new technologies like telemedicine, the report said.
Practices that are falling behind are not likely to grow, or to score very high in the areas of patient satisfaction and physician satisfaction. And rather than embracing new technologies, many blame new software systems for bogging down their operations with another layer of complexity.
The fact is, many of the practices that are not performing at their highest level have been embracing the wrong kind of technology. Software has been offered as the panacea that will make it easier to run a medical practice and achieve better health outcomes for patients.
But software alone cannot do the job.
Managed Care and Independent Practices
It is much easier for larger health networks in the managed care system to adopt new technologies than it is for smaller, independent medical practices. Larger health systems already have teams of people in place — from administrators to consultants — who can implement new technologies and then ensure that they are improving overall operations. In managed care, there are skilled people who oversee the technology.
Independent physician practices are not in this position. Most operate with a small group of doctors and a skeleton office staff that handles scheduling and other clerical work. Independent practices do not have teams that handle compliance and certificate maintenance, and they do not often have consultants who roll out new technologies and integrate them into the existing workflow.
Too often, physicians who should be treating patients are the ones with the mountains of compliance paperwork and other administrative burdens. If they adopt new technology, it will most likely be the doctor who will have to implement the system on their own.
For this reason, it is far more likely to be managed care facilities that embrace new technologies and then perform at their highest abilities.
Independent practices are far more likely to fall behind, as they are already struggling financially and are more likely to shy away from new kinds of care-management technologies.
What the Independent Practice Needs
Smaller practices need to be on equal footing with larger health networks when it comes to rolling out new technologies. Offering better software to independent doctors will only accomplish part of the job.
Independent practices need trained people and technology to work in tandem, which is what the managed care system has.
For independent medical practices to survive, flourish and create jobs, the physicians who operate them need to think about better practice management tools, which will never be comprised of software alone.
Combining human expertise with software is what will put independent physicians on an even footing.
Systems that accomplish this are what independent doctors should be demanding. When they have this system of practice management, they will no longer be in danger of falling behind.
Read more stories by Dr. Adam Tabriz