The TIPAAA Annual Meeting provided me a lot of information to think about, but there were some topics that I didn’t know I needed to think about!
The break out session on Tele-Medicine was extremely interesting to me. The presenters believe that Tele-Medicine is already here but will become more impactful on patient care in the next few years.
So, what does Tele-Medicine have to do with your practice? According to the session, Tele-Medicine will help increase revenue for private providers, reduce burn out and increase patient satisfaction.
In the US right now, major health care insurers such as United Health Care, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Aetna, and Anthem Health already have over 100 million combined users and perform over 7 million online consults yearly.
More astonishing is that the AMA has estimated that almost 80% of office visits could have been handled via Tele-Medicine in 2018. Think about how crowded your waiting room can get. Now think of the number of people that your office could have taken care of with just a phone call or video chat. By freeing up your office time, doctors have time to get back to patient care.
Who can benefit from Tele-Medicine?
Any medical provider! Think about the dermatologist who can see a patient’s rash over video chat and prescribe any necessary medications without having their waiting room clogged.
A physical therapist can observe the gait of a patient without making them come in for a visit. Follow-up surgical visits can be performed via video chat, saving both the doctor and patient time and money.
Tele-Medicine will provide added revenue to medical providers and allow them to remain independent.
Is Tele-Medicine right for your patient load? Listen, there are always going to be patients that will want to come in to the office for a consultation.
But for a lot of people today, the convenience of Tele-Medicine makes it very attractive. Patients won’t have to miss a day of work, it reduces any travel time to and from the doctor’s office, reduces the number of Emergency Dept visits and, best of all, they don’t have to sit in a room full of other sick patients.
As stated, more and more insurance companies are willing to pay for Tele-Medicine if it means keeping patients out of the hospital. Patients find it to be convenient. Doctors have to decide what is right for them.
I think it is worth looking in to. Your practice can benefit from Tele-Medicine financially and in patient care.
General Operations Manager
Memorial Day: It isn't just the start of the summer season, but an official holiday set aside especially to remember those who honourably served our country.
The federal holiday was created to honor soldiers who have died in military service and is observed annually on the last Monday of May. It was recognized as a national holiday by an act of Congress in 1971. Memorial Day traces its roots to "Decoration Day" — a 19th century U.S. tradition where the graves of Civil War soldiers were decorated at the end of May.
So, while we're all looking forward to summer and spending time with family and friends, don't forget to remember those who helped keep our country the Land of the Free, Because of the Brave!
Now, if you're one of the many looking to get away this holiday weekend, know that you're joining nearly 42 million fellow Americans who are kicking off their summer with travel plans, too. Stay safe out there!
I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the TIPAAA 2019 Annual Conference March 21-23. (TIPAAA -The Independent Physician Association of America) This year was their 24th Annual Meeting.
The break-out panels covered a broad spectrum of topics ranging from “The Future of Healthcare Delivery Outside of the Physicians Office”, “Blockchain -vs BitCoin”, to “Cyber Security Trends In Healthcare”, & “Physicians & ACOs” – just to name a few.
One of the most interesting break-outs I attended came on the first day. A panel of physicians from several IPAs discussed the value an IPA can be to private practice physicians. Today, many physicians are struggling to find ways to remain independent. Hospital acquisition of small practices seems to be the disturbing trend in healthcare. We see this first hand with clients on our own service. Many doctors are entering into “employment models” with hospitals and losing their private practices.
In an effort to circumvent this trend, doctors are turning to IPAs as a way to remain independent while still being able to flourish fiscally and in patient care. Some of the benefits of joining an IPA include: support from other physicians who share resources, data, financial risk, and even overhead costs. IPAs also offer assistance with practice management and administration tasks, peer support, and the ability of the IPA to negotiate favorable contracts offering significant savings to the members. You can save on everything from EMRs to office medical supplies, and even contact center needs (such as PFMI). Being part of an Independent Physician Association allows individual providers the opportunity to remain independent, while having the collective strength of its association to expand their patient base and remain competitive in today’s evolving healthcare environment.
This is great! So why isn’t everyone part of an IPA? Well first, IPAs require you to sign a contract. If the IPA you are looking to join is underfunded that could affect a physician's personal finances. Also, one must consider the trend of “Risk Contracts” IPAs are being asked to take on. Of course I was at an IPA conference, so they didn’t offer too many cons. They did warn IPAs to make sure they plan for “risk contracts” which could affect the profitability of the association.
Although there may be risk in joining an IPA, many of the doctors that we spoke with are very happy with their decision to become a member. IPAs offer not only security for independence but allow doctors to get back to the business of being a doctor and caring for patients.
On an unrelated note, yet, something I found astonishing: I learned that at one time there were over 1500 EMR systems. Even today, one office can use 5, 10, or even 40 different EMR systems. No wonder there are so many classes on medical coding and billing. You need a PhD to figure out all of the different systems! I also didn’t realize how much doctors and their staff really don’t like EMRs. Who knew? I'm certain you did. As they say, you learn something new every day.
Stayed tuned for next month’s article, where I will share information I learned on “Tele-Medicine”. According to the presenters, it is already here but will be more mainstream soon.
General Operations Manager
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