New Research From PRC and Healthcare Experience Foundation Identifies Factors Impacting Patient Loyalty.

Patients who perceive caregivers as working cooperatively are more likely to return to and recommend healthcare facilities. Across both emergency department and critical care unit patients, perceptions of teamwork between doctors, nurses and staff was the number one key driver impacting patient loyalty, according to new research from PRC and the Healthcare Experience Foundation.

The study, published in the EC Emergency Medicine and Critical Care Journal, offers insight into the complex factors influencing where patients turn for care, even in emergency situations.

Katie Owens

“The patient experience is widely regarded as a top priority in healthcare. There is so much complexity in the emergency and critical care environments, and our goal was to isolate aspects of care that are most important to patients in order to give leaders, staff, and physicians clarity to support their improvement efforts,” Katie Owens, president of the Healthcare Experience Foundation, SVP of PRC Excellence Accelerator, and lead author of this study, said.

The study was completed using retrospective patient experience survey data from 2016 to 2019 for patients discharged from 441 emergency departments and 40 critical care units. On average, teamwork explained 69 percent of the variation of patient loyalty in the Emergency Department and 55 percent of the variation of patient loyalty in the ICU.

The study identified key drivers of excellence, attributes of the patient experience statistically demonstrated to influence perceptions of patient loyalty. The top four emergency department key drivers included:

1.    Overall teamwork between doctors, nurses and staff
2.    Doctor understanding and caring
3.    Discharge instructions
4.    Doctor instructions/explanations of tests

In the critical care departments, the top three key drivers included:

1.    Overall teamwork between doctors, nurses and staff
2.    Overall level of safety
3.    Nurses understanding and caring

“When patients perceive their care as excellent in attributes such as teamwork, understanding and caring, level of safety, discharge instructions, and instructions/explanations of tests, hospitals’ efforts will be rewarded with patient loyalty in these high acuity environments,” Joe M. Inguanzo, Ph.D., president and CEO of PRC, said. The study notes that creating patient loyalty depends on relationship-building, communication skills, and working together as a care team. Improving the attributes of care identified as key drivers can positively shape the care experience for some of the most vulnerable and urgent patient populations.

LetsGetChecked Announces $30 Million in Series B Financing

 LetsGetChecked, the direct-to-consumer at-home health testing platform increasing access to laboratory and self-testing, today announced the closing of $30 million in its Series B round. LTP, a Boston-based growth equity investment firm focused on healthcare IT, led the round. Existing investors Optum Ventures and Qiming Venture Partners USA also participated in the round.

LetsGetChecked will use this funding to continue scaling the company’s consumer brand in diagnostics, as it currently serves the entire U.S., Canada and Europe. The funding will also be made to fuel development of the core technology platform and on expanding manufacturing and logistical capabilities throughout North America.

Peter Foley

“When I was younger, I had a condition whereby I benefited from getting screened early. I made a full recovery, but that isn’t always the case for people. We have all experienced family or friends getting diagnosed with something too late and conditions that should be manageable, get way out of hand. Early diagnostics through consumer-led screening can help solve this problem and lead to better clinical outcomes from everyone,” said Peter Foley, CEO and founder, LetsGetChecked. “Support from investors like LTP who have a proven track record of helping to modernize healthcare aligns well with our mission and company goals of bringing specialized health testing and insights direct to consumers. I’m grateful for LTP’s investment and involvement.”

“LetsGetChecked is taking lab testing and personal health management to the home through tight coordination of existing certified reference labs and logistics platforms,” said Todd Cozzens, managing partner, LTP, who has worked in the healthcare industry as CEO and founder at Marquette (IPO and subsequent sale to GE) and Picis (acquired by UnitedHealth Group), as well as an investor at Sequoia. “This creates a convenient and seamless consumer health testing experience, allowing timely access to results, follow-up care and professional guidance.”

Users can order in-state physician-approved laboratory tests via LetsGetChecked.com or through partner retailers, including CVS (NYSE: CVS), Walmart (NYSE: WMT), Pharmaca, and McKesson (NYSE: MCK) online stores. Anonymized tests are then shipped from the company’s ISO accredited facility by next day delivery and individuals can complete and return the samples for rapid processing within as little as two days. Tests are performed by leading CLIA-certified reference labs.

Throughout the process, patients are connected with in-state board-certified physicians to discuss any abnormal results and determine the best course of action for treatment and care. Patients also receive a nurse call to discuss the results live, which can be accompanied by an e-prescription at no additional cost to the pharmacy of their choice. LetsGetChecked’s portfolio of testing procedures currently includes wellness testing (cholesterol, thyroid, etc.), cancer screening, sexual health testing, fertility testing, genetic testing, and pharmacogenomic testing among others.

Partnered with connected health devices such as Apple Health, Fitbit and Garmin, LetsGetChecked provides customers access to a range of health data via its dedicated health dashboard. By combining lab results with real-time wearable data, users can receive risk assessments and scores such as their cardiovascular health and others to determine the probability of developing a heart attack within a given timeframe.

The company has integrated with large reference labs and health systems, and is building partnerships with a growing number of healthcare insurers for personalized screening and home testing procedures. For shipping and handling, LetsGetChecked has logistics partnerships with UPS, USPS and FedEx to provide a seamless and convenient consumer experience with quick turnarounds for testing results.

“We have seen LetsGetChecked grow and expand successfully over the time we have been involved. We are dedicated to investing in companies that solve real life problems. This is why LetsGetChecked stands out to us,” added Mark McDade, managing partner, Qiming Venture Partners USA. “We’re excited to help the company continue to grow at a time when people want more control over their own health.”

MedCrypt Announces $5.3 M Series A Funding Round

MedCrypt, a medical device cybersecurity software provider, announces a $5.3 million Series A funding round led by Section 32, with participation from Eniac Ventures and Y Combinator. MedCrypt was part of Y Combinator’s Winter 2019 batch.

Mike Kijewski

“Last October, the FDA released a major update to its premarket cybersecurity guidance for medical devices, publishing guidelines that line up just about perfectly with the solution we began developing three years ago,” said MedCrypt founder and CEO, Mike Kijewski. “Internet-connected medical technology is entering the market at light speed, calling for devices to be secure by design, which leads to a heightened level of patient safety at all times. We’re thrilled to see continued support from various groups in the industry, from the government to healthcare institutions and device vendors, along with support from our partners to help us further develop our technology and expand our team.”

The HIPAA Security Rule has been in effect for 14 years, aiming to protect electronic health data, yet a new study from CynergisTek reports the healthcare industry has only managed to achieve 72% compliance with it, leaving a gap that poses a security risk for those who are not yet compliant. The study also reports healthcare is expected to suffer two to three times more cyberattacks in 2019 than other industries. This data makes patient safety a critical area of focus.

“Patient data privacy has long been a concern, but the healthcare industry is just beginning to address patient safety risks presented by internet-connected healthcare technology,” said Vidya Murthy, vice president of operations, MedCrypt. “Research shows a 13.3 percent higher mortality rate for patients experiencing a cardiac arrest whose care was delayed by four minutes. While cybersecurity attacks to a device such as a pacemaker seem more dangerous, delays to patient care because of cyberattacks are much more real and likely.”

MedCrypt will use the funds to expand its team, adding new members in sales and engineering roles, and further develop its technology. MedCrypt’s security software allows device vendors to use cryptography to secure data traveling between or stored on devices. MedCrypt then provides remote, real-time monitoring to alert medical device vendors of suspicious behavior that may yield potential security threats to their company, devices and patients.

This round brings MedCrypt’s total funds raised to $8.4 million.

How Data Is Driving Patient-Centric Healthcare

By Ryan VanDePutte, associate director, Bits In Glass.

Ryan VanDePutte

Patient-centric healthcare is a major buzzword today, and it aligns with an overarching trend that is taking place in our society: mass customization. Over the last two decades, we’ve seen tremendous technological advancements that have drastically changed the way that most all goods and services are delivered. Goods and services are now tailored as much as possible to fit with each of our individual tastes, needs and schedules. This includes everything from entertainment (Spotify, Netflix) to food (UberEats), clothing (Stitch Fix) and now, even healthcare, where the patient is set to become the center of the care ecosystem.

When it comes to this transformation in healthcare, it is about more than just “me, me, me,” thinking. Patient-centricity is really about establishing a partnership between practitioners, patients and their families that aligns with a patient’s wants, preferences and needs, empowering them to be an active participant with control over their own healthcare experience.

This is not only something that the new generation has come to expect but also aligns with the needs of a large elderly population who are increasingly seeking home care over inpatient care. The population of adults aged 65 and older is expected to double from 37 million to 71.5 million between 2006 and 2030 and a 2018 AARP report showed that most of these adults want to grow old in their own homes and in their own communities. This could be for reasons as simple as comfort or as complex as mobility limitations. And while most of these older patients do have a primary care physician, again — it may be physically or economically challenging for them to actually go and see them every time in person. Further, the Association of American Medical Colleges estimates that the U.S. could lose as many as 100,000 doctors by 2025. This will further increase the need for efficiency in the medical field, as doctors are already in short supply, particularly in rural areas.

Data, data everywhere

To achieve the outcomes described above, an increased amount of quality data is required to truly serve each individual. While the use of electronic health records has grown in the last several years, making this data easier to access, many of us can still recall seeing doctors using written notes on a piece of paper and placing that paper into a filing cabinet. This analog data storage method has two major problems when it comes to patient-centricity; the first being that the data is not highly usable, it cannot be searched or analyzed in an efficient way, and the second being that much of the time, this data is based on what a patient remembers after sitting in the waiting room at a physician’s office. Both the quality and usability of the data can be lacking.

Further, many patients, especially younger patients, do not have a primary care physician (or a single filing cabinet of records) at all and receive medical care from several different sources such as urgent care clinics and home care providers. This fragments the patient’s health data, which not only impacts the ability for physicians to provide the best recommendations but also brings with it added hard costs.

Redundant tests, for example, may be ordered which increases the cost of care. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, the average health organization also spends approximately $120 in labor searching for every misfiled document, and $220 for the re-creation of a document. And according to Premier Healthcare Alliance Research, a lack of interoperability in these systems costs 150,000 lives and $18.6 billion per year.

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Ways To Keep Seniors Active At Senior Living Communities

Couple, Passion, Love, Elderly PersonBeing in a senior living community does not mean that you are going to live a sedentary life. As depicted by mainstream media, living in these communities entails sacrificing the things that you used to love. Physical activities are essential regardless of your age.

A senior living community should consider promoting wellness a priority. While it may not be easy as you need to take each resident’s emotional and physical state into consideration, it has been proven to work wonders. Some of the benefits that physical activities can provide are decreased hospitalizations and falls and happier residents.

The importance of exercise

A sedentary lifestyle is one of the risk factors of many diseases like cardiovascular disease. This disease is known as the leading cause of death in the US. Just because you are sedentary does not mean you will remain that way. You can still make some modifications to your lifestyle by becoming more active.

Incorporating exercise into your daily activity is important. It should be an essential part of a wellness program. Residents must always be encouraged to move independently whether they are in a wheelchair or with a walker.

A little movement can be very beneficial to residents. You can even infuse a little movement in sedentary activities like art projects, puzzles, card games, or even social gatherings. There should be an area in the community where residents can participate in various activities.

Keeping elderly active can increase blood circulation, improve posture, develop strength and balance, and reduce the risk of developing sores. Regardless of the amount of time spent on physical activities, being active is always a good thing.

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Harnessing the Power of Human Capital: Enabling Transformation for Healthcare IT Initiatives through Effective Project and Change Management

By Bill Slama, business consulting senior manager; Philip Handal, business consulting senior manager; and Jamie Morisco, business consulting experienced manager, Grant Thornton LLP.

Healthcare organizations are scrambling to harness the potential of digital technology to transform their business and gain a competitive edge in the marketplace. Whether they are looking to modernize their back-office systems, optimize their electronic health record, or leverage smart medical equipment and IoT for advanced data analytics, health systems are constantly engaged in transformational projects and programs. According to reports, 25 percent of these technology projects fail outright; 20 percent to 25 percent don’t show any return on investment; and as many as 50 percent need massive reworking by the time they are finished.

But the question is why: Why is it that such a high percentage of these technology enabled transformation projects fail? Studies show that poor project and change management is to blame for 54 percent of failed projects – while only 3 percent can be attributed to technological problems. Having an effective program and change management strategy – and the resources to implement and sustain that strategy – is critical to ensuring the project is on time, on-budget, and aligned with organizational goals and culture.

Change management means understanding the holistic impact of a change and encouraging and empowering employees to adopt and own that change. Without proper change management in place, projects can become burdened by: increased end-user stress and frustration, resistance to new technologies or processes, decreased adoption, and lower financial and operational returns on project investments.

One of the most common change-related reasons projects fail is due to lack of active and visible sponsorship (i.e., sponsors who are engaged, participatory, and of relevant standing/influence). Setting the tone at the top while maintaining consistently visible and active commitment from sponsors and relevant leaders is the foundation of a successful change and ultimately transformation project.

A common mistake is making the assumption that having a kick-off meeting means you’ve effectively communicated the scope, approach, purpose and goals of the project to all the primary stakeholders. Projects are dynamic – change happens on weekly, if not daily, basis – it is critical to engage and stay engaged to truly manage, communicate and effectively enable change through transformation. Stakeholder communication should always outline the benefits, risks and opportunities the change presents to their groups. Doing this with regular cadence across various channels of communication helps establish a network of change agents throughout the organization that can be relied upon to champion change and fully integrate change into the strategy and culture of the organization.

Enabler #1: Change Management

Change management activities should be integrated into the overall project plan through four critical phases:

  1. Awareness – Creating awareness that change and/or transformation is coming and informing those impacted of the timelines and tasks associated
    • Organizations should provide advance notice that significant change is on the horizon – whether it be a new business application, emerging technology, or automation of manual processes. This step is critical to successful change adoption. Advertising the macro-level timelines and micro-level tasks required to implement and sustain related to the impending change allows those impacted to be better equipped to navigate the change and minimize the impact on their day-to-day operations.
  2. Understanding – Communicating the genesis of the change, why it’s happening, and its impacts/benefits
    • Those impacted by the change (e.g. user community, stakeholders, sponsors, etc.) want to know why the new change is occurring – especially if the old way of doing things seemed to be working just fine. Fostering a culture of transparency, sharing the impetus for change and its expected impacts, and affording those affected by change the opportunity to ask questions or voice concerns allows everyone impacted to feel more involved in the process. It helps to establish a culture of togetherness and collaboration, and conveys the message that those impacted are part of the solution rather than an impediment to progress.
  3. Adoption – Acceptance and willingness to support and participate in change
    • Creating ownership of the change allows those impacted to see change is not “being done to me”, but rather “with me”. This can create enthusiasm among those impacted to adopt because they have an ownership stake in the success of the change.
  4. Commitment – Dedication to sustainment and enablement of change over time
    • The more people feel as if their contributions, ideas, thoughts, work products, and more positively contributed to the success of the change and/or overall program, the more eager they will be to adopt and sustain that change over time.

Always remember change – and ultimately, transformation – does not happen because of the implementation of new and emerging technologies. People drive change and transformation. Without their support, endorsement, and acceptance, change and transformation are not possible.

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How To Improve Staff Confidence During A Transition To A New Urgent Care EMR System

By Christina Boyd, vice president of client solutions, DocuTAP.

Christina Boyd

Switching to a new EMR is never easy and can be a real challenge for urgent care providers. However, when the current system doesn’t align with your practice’s goals, you’ve got to take the plunge.

Leadership may see the benefits, but getting the staff on board can be more difficult. This is perfectly understandable, since they’re the ones in the trenches every day and learning to use an entirely new system can be daunting. To make the transition successful, the support of staff is crucial.

In the best-case scenario, staff will not only support, but also understand how their lives will actually be easier after the switch. And therefore, it is up to leadership to set the tone by providing insight into the why and how weeks before the actual change is made. The question is: What are the specific steps you need to take to get staff to buy-in?

Choose technology wisely

A smooth transition begins with choosing the right solution, so it’s important to find a solution that’s intuitive and user friendly – in essence it should work just like the technology the staff uses as consumers in their daily lives.  Take the time to make sure it’s the right solution to prevent a subsequent change, and your confidence will trickle down.

Prepare and plan

There is no substitute for good preparation and planning. Know and communicate the plan for pre-launch training, go-live and post implementation support because the unknown is often a source of anxiety. If everyone on staff knows the process and the plan they will be more confident in managing the change.

Additionally, knowing how to discuss the change with staff is critical to effectively lay out the vision. What you are changing and why? How will this change impact each person? How will success be measured? At the end of the day, employees need to understand why the new technology is an improvement – not an inconvenience.

Choose a physician champion

Find one physician that believes strongly in the vision for the practice and the value a new EMR solution will bring to the clinic. The entire team is more likely to get on board if they hear the enthusiastic support of a respected colleague.

Start at the top

Urgent care owners know their staff best, so foster this personal relationship and secure the support of team leaders first. Start by asking them what they see as top challenges for the organization when it comes to the EMR or other technology used and allow them to offer solutions. Think about their roles and responsibilities and approach them individually to talk about how the change will affect their work life. This approach shows leadership recognizes the unique challenges each team member will face, and it matters to them.

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A Culture of Learning: Why Today’s Nurses Deserve the Best Onboarding and Education Available

By Anne Dabrow Woods, DNP, RN, CRNP, ANP-BC, AGACNP-BC, FAAN, chief Nurse, Health Learning, Research and Practice, Wolters Kluwer.

Anne Dabrow Woods

Have you thanked a nurse today? Or any day, for that matter?

If not, you now have an entire week to make up for lost time. National Nurses Week 2019 runs May 6 through 12 and celebrates the innumerable contributions nurses make each day. This year’s theme is “4 Million Reasons to Celebrate,” pointing to the 4 million registered nurses licensed in the United States and the vast contributions they bring to care delivery.

Healthcare may be an ever-evolving industry, but the one thing that hasn’t changed is the integral role played by nurses. In fact, their skill set is more in-demand than ever before, especially as today’s healthcare organizations navigate the evolving value-based care landscape. For example, nurses must constantly absorb new information to keep up with rapidly-changing evidence in practice while simultaneously honing their critical thinking skills to stay current in a shifting healthcare model.

The reality is that the role of nurses is changing dramatically as healthcare organizations see increased demand for services and higher-acuity patients, many with more comorbidities than ever before. Today’s nurses are critical members of the multi-disciplinary care team. They need to be the collaborators and leaders, giving a voice not only to their patients but to other nurses and caregivers as well. This is a profession that needs to produce leaders with the savvy and acumen to feel as comfortable inside a boardroom as they do at a bedside.

Simply put, knowledge is power when it comes to producing the best possible patient outcomes. Forward-thinking healthcare organizations understand this dynamic and are designing workplaces that optimize and support a culture of learning that elevates nursing skills to align with healthcare initiatives related to chronic disease management and population health.

These strategies not only support nurses as they care for patients in today’s fast-paced healthcare environments, but they help clinical leaders address growing staffing challenges amid critical professional shortages. For example, turnover rates in 2017 shot up to nearly 17 percent as the industry faces growing challenges related to burnout and dissatisfaction. Hospitals pay dearly when nursing turnover is at its highest, and it isn’t only the quality of care that suffers. According to one survey, the average cost for the turnover of a bedside RN is between approximately $40,000 and $60,000. Each percent change in nursing turnover, the survey says, will either cost or save the average hospital more than $373,000.

Nurses who feel well-equipped and supported in their professional trajectory are much more likely to find satisfaction in their work. Consequently, healthcare organizations must provide that support from the outset—addressing education gaps during onboarding while continuing to educate new nurses on how to deliver the highest quality of care. It’s a difficult balance considering nurses are dealing with a growing number of patients and a plethora of complex diseases.

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CPSI To Acquire Get Real Health To Expand Patient Engagement Solutions

Image result for get real health logoCPSI, a community healthcare solutions company, announces that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Get Real Health. Based in Rockville, Maryland, Get Real Health delivers technology solutions to improve patient outcomes and engagement strategies with care providers. Their broad set of cutting-edge products have garnered awards for the company and its clients and earned them a reputation as a vanguard in the healthcare information technology (IT) industry.

Get Real Health has established a presence in both domestic and international healthcare markets. Collaborating with organizations like TELUS Health, the University Hospital Southampton NHS Trust and KeyHIE, Get Real Health delivers solutions to government and private organizations in Europe, Canada, Australia and the United States.

In addition, earlier this month, Get Real Health launched its latest product, Lydia, when it was identified by Microsoft as a destination for HealthVault users to transition their existing data after the pending retirement of HealthVault. Lydia is a trusted place where people can organize, store and share their health information with family and healthcare providers.

Boyd Douglas

“The demographics and population make-up of the communities we serve support the growing demand for strategies and tools to address the on-going management of chronic care conditions, which are prevalent in these areas,” said Boyd Douglas, president and chief executive officer of CPSI. “Helping our customers secure the future of community healthcare is what we focus on each and every day. By acquiring Get Real Health, we can continue this effort as providers evolve to a value-based care delivery model.”

Get Real Health’s line of innovative patient-facing products will complement CPSI’s existing offerings. CPSI acute and ambulatory customers will be able to use InstantPHR and CHBase to engage their patients in a much deeper way than traditional patient portals. The company’s Ellie app will allow CPSI customers to improve their patients’ health outcomes while strengthening their own bottom lines. Get Real Health also brings a decade’s worth of international business experience and connections, opening potential new markets for CPSI’s existing offerings. Conversely, CPSI’s greater resources and capabilities will help Get Real Health scale to serve existing and new customers and markets.

CPSI anticipates that this acquisition will yield approximately $1.0 million in annual cost synergies, primarily from the replacement of CPSI’s existing patient engagement solutions. Additionally, the acquisition is expected to be accretive to Adjusted EBITDA for 2019.

Robin Wiener, president, chief executive officer and founding partner of Get Real Health, said: “When we met the CPSI management team, there was an instant realization that we could do something amazing together. In addition to the opportunity to bring our solutions to hundreds of communities across the United States already serviced by CPSI, we will continue to empower patients around the world.”

Transaction Summary

The contemplated total aggregate consideration to be paid by CPSI is $11 million, payable in cash, subject to certain adjustments at and after closing, as provided for in the purchase agreement, plus an earn-out payment of up to a maximum of $14 million, depending on the EBITDA performance of Get Real Health during 2019. The completion of the transaction is subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions, and is targeted to close in the second quarter of 2019.

To finance the transaction, CPSI will use a draw of approximately $11 million under its existing senior secured revolving credit facility.

How Faster Physician Credentialing Can Improve Healthcare In America

By John T. Hartigan, CEO, Intiva Health.

John T. Hartigan

One of the most antiquated processes in American healthcare is credentialing. It’s essentially been done the same way for decades and it’s extremely inefficient and costly.

In addition to continuing education requirements and 8.7 hours a week of non-clinical paperwork, physicians spend over three hours submitting around 20 different credentialing forms. Then facilities spend an additional 20 hours on each physician’s credential file. The process gets delayed any time something’s missing from the application or a reference doesn’t respond.

This has to be done every two years and takes anywhere from a few weeks to six months. Even worse, each facility has its own way of doing it, collecting the same exact information and not sharing this information with each other in any meaningful way.

If this process could be expedited, American healthcare would improve in three major ways.

The industry saves billions of dollars

With postponed physician start dates comes lost facility revenue. Lots of it, too.

Currently, a physician earns a facility an average of $2,378,727 a year. If credentialing takes a worst-case scenario of six months, that’s $1,189,363 in lost revenue. Even if credentialing only takes a few weeks, they still lose around $150,000.

That’s only one physician for one facility. Imagine the overall savings faster credentialing can bring the entire healthcare industry, which already wastes half of the $361 billion a year it spends on healthcare administration. We’re talking several billion dollars in savings that can be used to significantly lower healthcare costs for patients.

Doctors see patients sooner

Physicians didn’t get into medicine to become bureaucrats. The reason most doctors enter the field is to help people. Slow credentialing prevents that, adding administrative stress on someone who could be out saving lives. It’s a lose-lose for everyone. It also puts them in limbo for weeks or even months, making them unsure what they should or shouldn’t do. Do they buy that house? Should they wait on that car? Should they move to the city the job’s located in now or wait until the process is finalized? It can be very unsettling.

On top of that, physicians can lose a lot of income during the credentialing process. If they earn the average physician annual income of $299,000, waiting a few weeks to get credentialed would cost around $25,000 in lost income, and waiting six months would cost around $150,000 in lost income. Unless they’re able to work elsewhere during this time, they’re looking at losing as much money as the average American makes in a year—something many physicians can’t afford because of med school debt averaging $192,000.

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