As the healthcare industry struggles to achieve the triple aim of reducing cost, improving population health, and enhancing patient experience, many organizations have realized that significant progress cannot be achieved without physician buy-in. Physicians drive up to 85 percent of the quality and cost decisions while performing different roles such as providing frontline care to managing and running the health system in leadership positions.
A physician solution is a must to align physician and healthcare organization goals, minimize cost, and achieve better efficiencies while providing enhanced care, safety, and physician satisfaction and retention.
Need for physician solution
Physician burnout has risen tremendously over the past few years for reasons such as excessive workload, high-risk specialties, administrative work, inadequate technology, and lack of leadership. Physicians thus get lesser time with patients as they are burdened with various tasks (even during the midst of the pandemic) that could be better managed by physician solutions that help in clinical documentation, supply chain, referrals, and schedules.
The physician solution market and current adoption state
Presently the leading industry vendor in the physician solution market is Epic (31%), followed by Cerner (25%). These industry leaders are also EHR vendors and hence hospitals prefer them as the physician solution needs interoperability. 70% of physicians use EHR software thereby improving physician documentation.
The COVID-19 pandemic has further accelerated the adoption of digital health with a sense of urgency.
The available physician solutions and the benefits
There are various physician solutions available in the market; they typically have functionalities that include physician portals with profiles, schedules, feedback, analytics, peer engagement, and supply chain trackers.
A physician portal has digital physician profiles which are customized to levels of use and functionalities and filled with critical information, such as schedule and preferred doctors for referrals. The physician team is reminded of community events through portal notifications; a holistic feedback system for physicians and skill-building programs that their career growth.
Engaging & Empowering Physicians – the real drivers of contemplative change with solutions that transform the healthcare ecosystem. Future-proofing the world in an unprecedented time of crisis through technology armor for the healthcare warrior!
The portal streamlines physician materials/equipment required through care management and physician communication programs with the right information and resources in time. The portal allows peer interaction through HIPAA-compliant technology and establishes a supportive ecosystem. The best practices are put in a knowledge repository related to each clinician’s area of expertise. The portal has interactive voice response (IVR), enabling automated answering of incoming calls and reducing unnecessary calls to the physician team.
Limitations of traditional physician solutions
There is no end-to-end solution currently available that caters to the entire physician lifecycle as there are siloed solutions such as peer-to-peer technology, IVR technology, supply chain, and analytics. A few important points to consider:
- 96 percent of physicians believe it’s important for electronic health records (EHRs) to be better designed so they seamlessly integrate with technology systems used by their office and insurers (Geneia Survey)
- With the emergence of new technology, clinical documentation has slightly improved, yet it still consumes a lot of physicians' bandwidth. A study from the American Medical Association (AMA) found that for every hour clinicians spend with a patient, they have to spend two hours on EHR documentation
- The gap in understanding new risk adjustment both from payers’ and providers’ perspectives requires aspects of health reforms.
Next-generation physician solution: Technology transformation and the future
A holistic physician solutions approach that combines multiple levers (e.g., personal autonomy, clinical autonomy, colleagues, and technology) with 360-degree feedback is envisaged. The futuristic features other than the physician portal that can transform physician lives are clinical documentation and voice assistance that increase physician satisfaction and optimize their efforts.
Clinical documentation innovation
The next-generation physician solution will have enhanced clinical documentation features that understand risk-adjusted documentation and thus improve understanding of the risk-based payment model for physicians.
Clinical documentation is complex because it impacts patient care, compliance, quality measures, billing procedures, and physician well-being. The new models require risk-adjustment documentation and care management of patient populations with hierarchical condition categories (HCCs), which are primarily chronic conditions.
Around 10,000 ICD codes represent HCCs. The risk adjustment factor scores (cumulative risk of each patient and designating a certain amount of money for his/her/their care) are based on demographic factors and diagnoses billed each year.
Consider a 72-year-old woman visiting her physician with a urinary tract infection (UTI), and, although she has diabetes, this is her only visit to the physician during the year. If the physician diagnoses just the UTI and writes a prescription for her infection, the physician has certainly missed the opportunity to review her chronic conditions and capture the high severity of the illness. The under-represented patient’s severity of illness will have a direct impact on the RAF scores and associated risk-based payment calculation.
With clinical documentation, physicians could determine their highest-impact patients (those at high-risk scores) and improve their health.
The next-generation physician solution will also offer speech recognition technology and embedded computer-assisted physician documentation (CAPD), allowing physicians to capture the complete patient story. The underlying natural language processing (NLP) engine abstracts, aggregates, and contextualizes clinical insights from structured and unstructured/narrative/text data and then transforms and presents them to the physician in an actionable manner.
Maximizing the value of EHR and healthcare data with CAPD technology will help prepare doctors proactively with pre-visit insights, engage them in real-time, and then measure the results to identify opportunities for further improvement.
A recent survey indicates that a lot of physicians are using healthcare technologies that involve secure messaging (62%), portals (60%), and clinical decision support (44%), which is transformative as it simplifies decision making and workflow.
Empowering the real drivers of contemplative change is paramount to the future goals and dreams of the healthcare sector. With physicians at the pinnacle of engagement and technology, enabling them and addressing their key challenges including the functionality of the system and ensuring patient safety among others would lead to an avalanche effect on the entire healthcare technology ecosystem!
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