Today’s healthcare information technology headlines are littered with how large delivery networks are scaling up and successfully building and using IT infrastructure. But the real success story is hiding in the shadows of these large enterprise deployments, in the small and independent practices across the US. The recent ICD-10 transition, that had been foretold to drive small enterprise into financial despair due to their lack of IT savvy and infrastructure, has shown just the opposite. A report from a leading provider of billing software that was based on government and private payer claims analysis for the past 30 days shows a different story.Continue reading…
Earlier this month, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology released an update to Connecting Health and Care for the Nation: A Shared Nationwide Interoperability Roadmap. The roadmap was first announced back in January, and the changes shared this month aren’t significant.
Ultimately, it calls for all healthcare providers nationwide to be able to send and receive electronic clinical information by the end of 2017.
This is a good plan on the surface, although it comes six years and millions of dollars late, and like other programs it may be more cumbersome that it first seems. Essentially, there are three facets:
1) Data standards to format and request/receive data
2) Incentives (again!)
Despite the intention to move data across the Union, each state will have the right to create its own unique rules on how to manage the exchange of information. This is a problem as we have seen before in the simple Case of e-prescription routing. A few states make it almost impossible to send e-scripts and layer on their own special form of bureaucracy. This inhibits the ultimate goal of reducing costs and errors and increasing Efficiency at the expense of both providers and patients.
The healthcare industry is changing as new models of care and reimbursement emerge. One of these approaches is P4 Medicine. P4 Medicine stands for predictive, preventive, personalized, and participatory. This approach deeply resonates with me because the philosophy is aligned with how I have been developing my medical practice, which is focused on optimizing health and avoiding disease. In my opinion, P4 Medicine is one of the best models for maximizing patient engagement.
The earliest manifestation of P4 Medicine began eight years ago at the Institute of Systems Biology when Dr. Lee Hood, MD, PhD, a physician scientist and creator of the automated gene sequencer, recognized that the application of systems biology to medicine would fundamentally alter our understanding of health and disease. This model has merged three powerful aspects of science and technology:Continue reading…
Thinking of starting a new practice? Is the lure of independence calling to you? There are more reasons than every why independent practice is a great option. Being your own boss is not only easier than it once was, it can actually make you happier.
Independent physicians have many more options available to help them today than they used to. Affordable technology has revolutionized private practice from EHRs to easy-to-use practice management and billing software, adding flexibility to staffing and simplifying paperwork needs. And, the increased availability and ease of outsourcing has further reduced the burden of running your own practice. Physicians can now choose to outsource inbound calls, reminder calls, pre-authorizations, marketing, and of course, billing. In addition, independent providers can transition to new agile practice models such as concierge and hybrid that can offer higher incomes and smaller patient census and reduce some of the headaches associated with traditional practice structures.
Added to the fact that starting and running a private practice is now easier than ever, is the higher level of happiness experienced by independent physicians. In fact, a study done by Medscape in March 2014 reported that 74% of self-employed doctors are satisfied in their practice and that of the physicians who left employment in favor of independent practice, 70% felt happier in their new practice while only 9% were less happy being self-employed. Seventy-four percent of these self-employed doctors also said that their opportunity to practice quality medicine met or exceeded their expectations.
There are many factors contributing to these high satisfaction rates in independent physicians but one of the biggest is the control these doctors have over their practice, their schedule, their treatment of patients, and their destiny. A survey in Hospital Topics on the impact of practice arrangements on physician’s satisfaction backs this up, reporting that physicians who work for HMO’s have much less autonomy and decision-making power than self-employed physicians. And, the report by Health Affairs found that 85% of doctors in private practice felt free to control their schedules compared to only 39% of HMO physicians.
Self-employed doctors also avoided the pitfalls of employment cited by the Medscape study while the doctors working for hospitals and group practices listed administrative headaches, added rules, and a more limited income potential as reasons for dissatisfaction in their careers. It’s easy to see why the 2014 Great American Physician Survey conducted by Physician’s Practice found that over half of independent physicians would do things the same way all over again. This isn’t to say independent providers done have regulatory challenges or administrative responsibilities. However, they have more control over the day-to-day operations and administration, eliminating frustrating bureaucracy.
Better, more affordable, easier-to-use technology, simple outsourcing options, greater autonomy and control, and higher levels of satisfaction…all of these factors make private practice a more attractive option than ever. So, if you are considering starting a new medical practice, now is the time. Just remember, doing it right from the beginning will save you from unnecessary stress, making the process of opening your new practice a much more enjoyable experience.
By joining the ranks of independent physicians, you will be in control of both your practice and your life. You will be free to set your own schedule, manage patient care to your standards, work with a staff of your choosing, and have the final control over your income potential. All new practices will face challenges along the way but you will find a wealth of resources to make your life easier and guide you to success in your new venture.
Tom Giannulli, MD, MS, is the chief medical information officer at Kareo. He is a respected innovator in the medical technology arena with more than 15 years of experience in mobile technology and medical software development. Previously, Giannulli was the founder and chief executive officer of Caretools, which developed the first iPhone-based EHR.
In a major update, the search giant has announced that on April 21, the algorithm will be updated to favor websites that are designed to work on both mobile and desktop devices, now often referred to as Responsive Website Designs.
Does your practice have a responsive website?
Google has had multiple mobile initiatives, including the GoMo campaign where the company provided free tools to help small businesses build websites that worked on mobile devices without the dreaded pinching, resizing, and squinting. That campaign had limited success because the technology didn’t quite work as elegantly as possible, but just last week Google took its most aggressive approach yet by declaring that they were going to start penalizing websites that did not have mobile capabilities.
Once referred to as mobile-friendly website design, geeks refer to it simply as responsive website design now. So how does one get a mobile-friendly, er, responsive website?
When providers and their staff don’t have the time or tools to effectively communicate with patients, a slew of issues can result: from physicians missing important cues and misdiagnosing patients to preventable hospital readmissions and poor outcomes because patients didn’t understand or follow care guidelines.
The problem has become endemic. According to one study, 80% of what doctors tell patients is forgotten as soon as they leave the office. Beyond that, 50% of what the patient did recall is incorrect. In addition to impact communication and follow up have on care and outcomes, patients are expecting a different experience than they once had. Nearly two thirds of patients now say they would consider switching to a physician who offers access to medical information through a secure Internet connection.Continue reading…
In December, THCB asked industry insiders and pundits across health care to give us their armchair quarterback predictions for 2015. What tectonic trends do they see looming on the horizon? What’s overrated? What nasty little surprises do they see lying in wait? What will we all be talking about this time next year? Over the next few weeks, we’ll be featuring their responses in a series of quick takes.
Joe DeSantis, Vice President of HealthShare Platforms, InterSystems
Information Exchange is dead. Long live Information Exchange: There was a lot of talk in 2014 about the failure of information exchange. When people take a closer look, they are going to see there are actually some good examples of this working and changing how care is delivered. We’ll see lots more examples in 2015.
(Big) garbage in, (big) garbage out: People are looking to big data and analytics to tackle population health and other problems. They will soon find that without addressing data quality and conditioning up front, the results will be disappointing at best. This will be the year of clean data.
Keep it simple: The mobile revolution has not yet had the impact on healthcare that it has had in other sectors. Recreating desktop applications on a phone is not the answer, nor are retreads of messaging standards. We will have to rethink how healthcare information is presented and used.
One portal, please: Everyone agrees that patient engagement is essential – but giving me four separate portals, six more for my wife and three more for my mother makes me enraged, not engaged! Thought leaders will begin to realize that patient engagement must be built atop true information sharing.Continue reading…
There was a moment, ever so brief, where Google Glass seemed like nothing more than a glorified headband. Admit it. You too saw early users matching their Glass color to their shoes. And if you didn’t, I saw two, which is two too many for the both of us. How Google Glass was going to make a significant impact on the world of Health 2.0 was beyond me until I brushed up on my nineties pop culture with a little help from the boss.
More than twenty years ago, “Terminator 2” had a Google Glass prototype for providers. Of course their “provider” was one extremely fit future “governator” who answers to Arnold, but the glasses were perfect for modern day health care professionals. They were equipped with automatic identification of surroundings, facial recognition, and decision support. In a nutshell, that’s all providers really need, right?
It definitely sounds like the “ideal information system” that Dr. Prentice Tom, Chief Medical Officer of CEP America, described at the Second Annual Silicon Valley Innovation and Technology Summit (hosted by the Northern California HIMSS chapter). His wish list for the perfect piece of tech demanded that it be mobile, have voice recognition, NLP, push relevant information, increase efficiency, and facilitate action and communication over documentation. Problem solved? Not so fast.
The program at the Innovation Summit featured two provider keynotes and two provider-filled panels, which naturally raised some key points surrounding provider and systemic adoption of Health 2.0 technologies. First, thanks to Dr. Tom’s early reference to Google Glass – he did have a giant picture of it onscreen as he described his ideal information system – the event left the distinct impression that providers want Google Glass. No other providers directly referenced Glass, but it became an implied solution for every problem raised thereafter.