The “New” Physician Enterprise – Leveraging Technology to Enable the Cash Medical Practice

There is a growing trend in medical practices based on cash. Some are the high-end “anti-aging” or “age management” practices that view aging as a treatable disease that can be significantly delayed by the application of hormone replacement therapy, nutritional supplements, and other medical modalities. unconventional. Other cash practices are typical family practices that became frustrated with the insurance model and embarked on the new paradigm of cash medicine. All of them share the basic principle that they do not maintain contracts with insurance companies and instead require patients to pay cash for medical services rendered.

To be successful and profitable in the insurance model, practices must have a very high daily patient volume (35 to 40 for a single family doctor) in order to generate the income necessary to earn just a “professional” level of income. . Along with the high volume, there is a lot of overhead, including a large office and several support staff just to get started. Due to the volume combined with a number of logistical factors (patients arriving late, inefficient office, etc.), patients typically have to wait 30 to 60 minutes or more from the appointment time. scheduled, all just to spend an average of 6 minutes with the doctor. The inefficiency of this model is at least in part responsible for the relatively low overall efficiency of health care in the United States compared to other industrialized countries.

The “new” medical enterprise

The “new” physician business is all about prevention, new revenue streams, operating on a “cash flow” model, maintaining a high quality physician / patient relationship while operating with efficiency similar to that of the company. Technology is the catalyst for the new medical enterprise, and the right technology must be quick to implement, easy to use, accessible 24/7 for patients and staff, and be very cost effective.

In the new paradigm, physicians see as few as 7-10 patients per day, have a much smaller staff, dramatically reduced overhead costs, and have the ability to actually participate in well-being, by identifying the root causes of disease rather than to focus only on the symptoms and therefore in a positive way. have an impact on the results. The patient pays the doctor in cash bypassing the insurance model and all accompanying reimbursement rules that many believe interfere with effective patient care and favorable outcomes.

But without effective technology to enable the practice, the treasury practice will still suffer from higher personnel and overhead costs than necessary, as will the practices of the insurance model, which will impact the long-term viability of the business. this model. The primary enabling technology for cash payment practices can be broadly categorized as “self-service” technology. For example, instead of having a staff member schedule appointments for patients, the practice could implement a web-based self-service appointment system. There are several low cost systems on the market today that offer a high level of configurability to accommodate physician schedules. , multiple types of appointments, and just about any scheduling complexity a human can handle. Additionally, since many practices operating in the new paradigm offer nutritional supplements for sale, an internet shopping cart is the natural solution for this rather than having a staff member take orders. Again, there are many commercially available tools that can meet this need. Generally speaking, the needs of treasury practices can be summarized by the following list of requirements:

  • Patient management database (profiles, demographics, inquiries)
  • Electronic medical records
  • Making appointments
  • Marketing and communication for potential patients and patients
  • Basket
  • Accounting / Financial management

Continuing the approach described above, treasury practices could implement several commercially available tools to meet this unique set of needs, as typical practice management systems proposed today continue to target practices. operating in the insurance model and generally do not include shopping carts, true self-service appointment booking, marketing and communication engine or financial management. But using the multiple disparate systems implementation approach creates another inefficiency as patient demographics have to be captured and maintained across multiple systems and most importantly, there is no support for the business process. ideal in this scenario.

Enabling technology for cash medical practices

But now there is a new option for cash medical practices facing these issues. Using XML, HL7 and today’s integration technologies, it is possible to integrate third-party applications in “the cloud”, allowing all systems to share a common database for demographic data while avoiding the practice of having to host hardware or software. In this target environment, firms can use multiple self-service applications, integrate them using a modern integration approach, and add workflow to deliver additional efficiencies. This approach has a low cost of entry, a relatively low total cost of ownership, while providing significant advantages in practice.

Without a doubt, big software companies will eventually see this niche and provide fully integrated applications to serve them, but for now, cash practices have at least one viable option to leverage technology to enable physicians to to practice medicine, to patients to receive better care and to practice to be profitable.

Copyright @ 2009 eMedicalFusion, LLC

Source by Andre Etherly

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