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Independent Medical Practices Need More Than New Software

Young doctors today are tech-savvy, as they have lived most of their lives in a world of mobile phones, personal computers, and Internet connectivity. But many physicians over the age of 35 are hesitant to embrace new technologies.

Many feel they have already spent enough time trying to master new software while also caring for more patients with fewer resources. Some resent the fact that using new technologies are not always a matter of choice, and such decisions often get handed down from above.

But whether they grew up in a world of sophisticated technology or not, every physician today has to accept that there are new, digital methods that are not going away. The technology is here to stay, so it is time for physicians to ask whether they are really getting value from the technologies they use.

For medical professionals who are part of the managed care system, getting insufficient value is a matter of inconvenience. But for struggling independent medical practices, reaping value from technology is a matter of survival.

Why Doctors Sometimes Resent New Technology

There are many reasons why physicians have mixed feelings about new innovations like electronic health records.

In addition to worrying about whether cloud-based systems like these are secure, many medical professionals assume that learning new software systems will take away from the time they should be spending delivering care. Rather than making their lives easier, new technologies add new burdens on time and energy, some believe.

Physicians sometimes resent that decisions about new technologies are not being made by the actual care providers, but by finance professionals, insurers or the government. They wonder if these parties are putting the wellbeing of the patient first.

But whatever their reservations are, physicians in the largest health networks down to the smallest private clinics are under pressure to use new digital tools to deliver better care more efficiently.

It Takes More Than Technology

Various stakeholders in the country’s healthcare system have high hopes that new software will cut costs, ease the burden on overworked doctors and nurses, reduce hospital readmissions and help every patient reach a better health outcome.

But software has not been a silver bullet for the many problems in healthcare. It is merely a tool.

People need to work alongside and with new software, platforms to solve problems and get results. Technology is not going away, and human ingenuity is not going away. These two forces need to work together more productively to improve our healthcare system.

Independent Practices Need Software and People

The larger health networks have the resources in place to put people and software to work together, but the picture is very different for smaller, independent medical practices.

These practices can implement new software systems to run their operations more efficiently, but they do not have the compliance and certification specialists that larger health systems have on staff or the budget for outside consultants that the larger systems have.

If software alone can solve many problems at a larger health network, it is only because the organization already has teams of people in place who can implement, maintain and properly use the new technology.

Smaller practices need a different solution, one that is hands-on in that it combines software with the human expertise that larger health systems have.

For health systems, new software is a matter of compliance and convenience.

For the independent doctor, it’s a matter of survival. Doctors operating outside of managed care need solutions that will put them on an equal footing with larger organizations by combining knowledgeable, trained people with the latest cloud-based software.

New technology is here to stay. Let’s make sure independent doctors are here to stay too.

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