The Five Steps to a Successful, Thriving Independent Practice
1. “not subject to the control of others”
We know what “Independent” means by definition, however, what does this mean to your practice?
Being independent within your practice may ultimately mean different things to different practices.
Solo and small practices have different industry regulations than larger practices and hospitals do. Staying independent through these regulations means deciding the course in which to drive and what your destiny is for the future of your practice.
With the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in place, doctors are held accountable to provide higher quality care at lower costs, with increased tracking and reporting demands. Sometimes, even in a facility that has declining reimbursement and high potential of liability.
It is possible to control this course of independence in your practice. These steps will prove to be essential in thriving and surviving in this new health care reality.
Step 1. Focusing on Financial Performance
Being prepared to handle new methods of reimbursement will help maximize financial performance. Independent physicians typically do not have the time to sort through changes enacted by government insurance payers, track claims or manage appeals, all the while trying to provide quality care and attention required to their patients.
Finding a practice management solution that integrates seamlessly with practice workflow, will allow for productivity boost and focus on patient care. The right practice management solution should be able to handle patient scheduling, claims submission and reporting, as well as sending out patient statements, in turn, getting you paid faster!
Step 2. Clinical Integration and Connectivity
Exchange of information is crucial to improve coordination between physicians. Lacking this information can lead to treatment errors, unnecessary costs accrued for the patient and possible, preventable hospital readmissions.
By implementing a cloud-based solution, it allows for access to the information needed and creates an easy transition for patient care and follow up. Having this connectivity, independent practices are able to meet payment requirements, avoid duplicate testing or redundant care and can ensure the data is provided to the physician at the point of care.
Step 3. Thriving in the ACO Environment
Taking up only a small portion of the massive new health laws are the Accountable Care Organizations (ACO). These are networks of physicians and hospitals that share responsibility for providing care to patients. There are physicians who are joining ACO’s but, there is also an increasing number of primary care physicians who want to remain independent.
To succeed under these payment reforms, independent practices must have an electronic health record that streamlines workflow in your practice, providing access to guidelines and maximizes efficiency, as well as a strong communication with local ACO’s to meet care coordination requirements. Lastly, health information technology is needed to monitor patients within or outside of your practice, ultimately being able to measure and report on the patients outcomes.
Step 4. Creating Foundations for an Engaging Environment
Independent practices must have something that appeals to the patient. Creating an attractive choice for patients and referral partners will be part of thriving in this business. Promoting a certain culture and maintaining a strong financial performance is just the beginning. A great start for this is an online patient portal.
Meaningful Use Stage 2 requires physicians to help patients view, download and transmit health information online. Patient portals not only streamline tasks such as scheduling or registration, but they also serve as communication between doctor and patient, satisfying those requirements for Meaningful Use Stage 2.
Step 5. Adapting to Change
The future of health care is starting to take form after many years of uncertainty. This is where independent practices must be quicker than ever. Being able to adapt to all the “new’s” in the industry, such as new payment models, new care models, reimbursement, meaningful use and transitions with ICD-10. Independent practices must have a system in place to stay on top of these requirements.
We hope these steps will be helpful for you, as you embrace independence in your practice!
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