Welcome to the latest edition of Independent Heartbeats, the newsletter created exclusively for cardiologists and practice managers. In each issue, we’re delivering peer insights on pressing topics that impact your practice.
We’re in the midst of vacation season, but for cardiologists in private practice, taking time off can be a challenge. However, doctors still need to take time off and find ways to reduce stress.
A main driver for many doctors looking to remain independent is the freedom to run your practice as you choose. That means developing your own compensation and benefits arrangements. Some cardiologists feel private equity is the only path forward to freedom and reducing burnout… but is that really true? Check out some of this month’s stories below to hear our take.
Industry Buzz: Hot Topics in Independent Practices
At a glance: A high suicide rate among doctors has been attributed to moral injury caused by pressures from profit-driven healthcare, compromising patient care and a lack of open discussion about their challenges. This has led to growing frustration and a sense of betrayal within the medical community.
What you should know: Burnout is rising within the medical community, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic. Moving away from profit-driven care and toward value-based care can restore purpose and fulfillment to the medical profession. Prioritizing patient outcomes and aligning financial incentives enhances patient care, reduces burnout and puts the well-being of physicians and patients first.
At a glance: Cardiologists need vacation and personal time to combat burnout, improve their well-being and enhance performance. But they need organizational support, staffing, compensation adjustments and clear expectations to prioritize taking personal time.
What you should know: Taking time off can directly impact compensation for independent physicians, who rely on seeing patients to sustain their business. We’re seeing a pervasive epidemic of professional burnout across independent practices, where physicians have to juggle too many tasks. Physician owners need to start thinking through different strategies to succeed in this increasingly complex care delivery system. Whether it’s looking at other reimbursement models, like value-based care, or other business models, like adding a strategic partner, practice owners need to start prioritizing their physicians well-being for long-term success.
At a glance: Private equity investment in medical practices and ASCs can impact physician pay and pose challenges in recruitment because of the influence of private equity partners on business decisions and growth expectations.
What you should know: There are positives to entering a private equity deal, but be sure you’re prepared to share decision-making with your PE partner. Your ownership model and distribution schedule may need to change once you bring on PE investors. We’ve heard this can mean various things depending on the deal structure: either work RVU requirements, or loss of your clinical autonomy–physicians should be well-versed in what they’re giving up before signing on the dotted line. Many physicians hope that a buyout will solve their burnout problems (see above), but many times it just adds more work as PE firms are looking to exit themselves in 3-5 years.
At a glance: Lawmakers want CMS to improve prior authorization rules with electronic decision-making and faster response times to streamline the administrative process and improve Medicare Advantage beneficiaries' access to care.
What you should know: Prior authorization is a huge bottleneck for specialists, including cardiologists. It’s a positive step forward to see movement on creating fewer barriers to receive timely care (and less headaches for your front office staff).
Cardiology Practice Insights
Did you miss our last newsletter? Check out the June edition of Independent Heartbeats for tips on practice management, a physician spotlight and more timely topics that impact your practice.
Practice Management Tip of the Month
In today's fast-paced healthcare landscape, leveraging technology is crucial for improving practice efficiency and delivering high-quality care. Implementing the right suite of technology platforms can enhance patient outcomes, reduce costs and streamline operations. However, it can be overwhelming to navigate and evaluate all your options. Here are our tactics for maximizing your tech capabilities through your EMR:
Coordination and delivery of care: Work with your practice manager and EMR representative to customize care plans for your unique patients. Customization ensures consistency and efficiency in documentation style. It also facilitates proper coordination of care between providers and enhances information sharing. By leveraging macros and structured data within your care plans, you can improve provider efficiency and streamline office operations.
Telemedicine: Most EMR platforms offer a fully integrated telehealth platform, allowing easier access to care for your patient panel. Implementing telehealth within your practice reduces barriers to care for patients and the cost of care while increasing a provider’s capacity to see patients on a given day.
Performance data and analytics: Your customized suite of technology will produce a variety of performance data, offering insights to the strengths and opportunities within your business. These metrics allow you to evaluate tactics for improved efficiency, performance and growth. An effective partner for your practice will leverage reporting and analytics to develop optimization plans for the business.
Workflow management: As an independent cardiologist, your focus is seeing patients and providing outstanding care, not navigating operational inefficiencies. Optimized workflows ensure your staff can offer an efficient, timely patient experience. Partner with your practice manager and managed services partner to evaluate current workflows, identify goals and needs, and work to improve the experience for everyone in your practice.
How can you measure success? Metrics such as patient cycle time, patient wait time, provider documentation time and same-day close encounter rates can indicate that your technology is creating efficiencies in your practice.
Attend Our Live Webinar with our partners over at MedAxiom
Interested in pivoting to value-based healthcare and unsure where to start? Learn more in our live webinar "Making Value-Based Care 'Work' For Cardiologists,” co-presented by Medaxiom. We’ll review why cardiologists have a critical role in value-based care and what that means for the future of cardiovascular care. Register for free.
That's it for this month.
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