Guest post by Maureen Ladouceur, vice president, Health Systems Products, Marketing and Services, Quantia, Inc. Maureen Ladouceur
According to a recent Physicians Foundation survey, 82 percent of physicians believe they have “little influence on the direction of healthcare.” At the same time, data suggests that physicians are the ones driving 80 percent of our increasingly unsustainable national healthcare spend.
There’s been plenty of speculation on the reasons physicians are feeling so disenfranchised – including their frustration with having to do things that don’t appear, to them, to have anything to do with good medicine. Things like onerous documentation, EHR training and quality report cards are just a few examples. Further, physicians are being asked to learn about marketing, customer service, leadership, management and cost effectiveness that have more to do with taking care of the system than taking care of patients.
In most cases it boils down to this: there’s too little time, too many distractions and too much change to the clinical and administrative guidelines that go along with being a practicing physician.
So how can health systems overcome these very real obstacles and engage their physicians in ways that keep them current and aligned? For starters, any physician engagement strategy has to be digital if it’s going to scale. And to be sustainable, it’s got to be convenient, credible and enjoyable—while giving physicians a voice (and thus, gaining their buy-in) on topics that will impact the future of their practice, their organization and the overall healthcare system.
Health systems looking to engage their physicians in ways that foster ongoing learning and inspire change can leverage a few proven best practices:
Make it convenient
With an estimated half of current medical knowledge becoming obsolete every five years, even the most experienced physician can’t keep up with all the changes in healthcare. Yet many bristle at the idea of spending time away from the office at symposiums, or submitting to onerous exams on content that may or may not be relevant to their practice.
The past year has been a turbulent one for U.S. physicians, according to the 2014 Practice Profitability Index (PPI). The PPI was conceived in 2013 as part of a partnership between leading cloud-based health technology provider, CareCloud, and Quantia, Inc., a leader in physician engagement and alignment. The research is intended to serve as an annual barometer for the operational wellbeing of U.S. medical groups in the year ahead. 5,064 physicians contributed their insights to the second annual PPI during March of 2014. To download the entire 2014 PPI, visit: http://www.carecloud.com/practice-profitability-index-2014/
Physicians Have a Darkening Outlook on their Practices’ Profitability
The key finding of the PPI survey was that U.S. physicians are now more than twice as likely to foresee eroding, not increasing, profits in 2014. Those with a negative outlook increased from 36 percent to 39 percent during the past year, while optimists declined from 22 percent to 19 percent. The issues weighing on finances are still led by declining reimbursements (60 percent);rising costs (50 percent); requirements from the Affordable Care Act (49 percent); and the transition to ICD-10 (43 percent).
Operational Challenges Impact Patient Care
“The 2014 PPI results show that physicians are experiencing increasing strain on their practice operations as a result of healthcare reform and government mandates. This strain, in turn, affects patients – including the millions of new ones entering the system as a result of the Affordable Care Act,” said Albert Santalo, Chairman and CEO of CareCloud. “Nearly half of physicians say they cannot take on these patients, foreshadowing an access to care issue. Meanwhile, despite the hype about emerging reimbursement models, physicians are most likely to seek improvements through programs that help them engage with their sickest and most vulnerable patients.”
The complete 2014 PPI survey results, which also explore physicians’ opinions on technology adoption; time spent on administration rather than patient care; impact of healthcare reform; intent to stay independent or sell their practice; and strategies for improving operational performance, can be accessed at www.carecloud.com/PPI
Additional key findings from the 2014 PPI included: