Industry Commentary: Physicians Should be Modernizing Practice Operations

COVID-19 continues to take its toll on the healthcare industry as physician practices fight financial pressures and look to benefit from rising technologies in the field. As a result of patients skipping preventive care visits and general outpatient appointments throughout 2020, many of these practices saw a drop in service volumes which lead to loss of revenue and permanent closure of some facilities. Even now as practices begin to reopen their doors, physicians face significant headwinds in the return to normalcy for their practices and their bottom lines. In fact, one such burden remains the growing amount of paperwork these practices send and receive related to claims, prior authorization, patient portals, prescriptions, referrals and more as the industry moves away from fee-for-service toward value-based care. To help address this problem, physician practices must leverage technologies that allow for reduced administrative burden and increased staff productivity.

This need for physician practices to utilize technologies that allow for stream-lined collaboration with providers is what led me to develop the article “Physicians should be modernizing practice operations” published in Physicians Practice – a prominent publication read by thousands of physicians and their staff across the care continuum. Throughout the piece, I explore how a unified communications platform can bridge the gap between disparate technologies which allows providers to send information in a HIPAA-compliant format that can become part of the patient record:

“Physician practices need the right technology to collaborate with other providers and become a hub in the care continuum. One still can find a physical fax machine in nearly every medical office. Ninety percent of healthcare organizations still use standalone fax machines as a communications source, sending and receiving patient data, referrals, and other data, including protected health information (PHI).

Cloud fax and Direct secure messaging can be used among clinical and financial IT systems to speed patient referrals, transmittal of continuity of care (C-CCD) documents, appointment information and much more. Physician practices can utilize the benefits of all fax infrastructure to the cloud, allowing staff to send and receive electronic faxes securely through email, a secure website or with an app.”

New technologies, like Consensus Signal, also include a document management solution that offers alerts in different formats, including CCD, XML, PDF and text to address the paperwork burden as well as offer the ability to receive admission, discharge, and transfer (ADT) event notifications from acute-care facilities. With CMS set to revise the Conditions of Participation (CoP) on May 1, the latter has become a requirement for hospitals.

I go on to share a great example of how a large health system is well-positioned for success come May and beyond after turning to Consensus Signal:

“Winchester Hospital Independent Physicians Association is one integrated physician group that is helping their affiliated physicians connect across the care continuum by positioning itself for success way ahead of the May 1 compliance deadline. They are doing so with a technology solution that supports Direct-based ADT alerts but also details reports about the alerts, including the date, receiving physician and details about the type of message that was received.

The Massachusetts health system uses Epic, and the independent physician practices use a wide array of EHRs. Practices with compatible EHRs receive ADT alerts within the system, while others can access an online portal that provides physicians the information they need regarding discharged patients.” Read my complete article published in Physicians Practice by clicking here.