Healthcare Practice Innovation: Three Ideas
With all of the changes happening in healthcare these days, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. We hear a lot of the same things, don’t we? It’s better to align with a large group. There’s no way to overcome documentation and billing requirements without becoming overwhelmed. We have to embrace technology.
While we’re not entirely disputing any of these things, sometimes it’s worth getting outside of the box.
The following three ideas aren’t necessarily things that will work for your practice. They’re not the traditional recommendations, for sure. But if you’re stuck in a rut … or trying to remain an independent voice … or even looking to inspire innovation in your office, one of these ideas may be just what you’re looking for.
Join an independent practice association.
The trend in healthcare these days is toward collaboration and value-based care. If you’re an independent practice — and hoping to stay that way — here’s an interesting idea: try joining an independent practice association (IPA).
According to an article in Becker’s ASC Review (http://www.beckersasc.com/asc-turnarounds-ideas-to- improve-performance/5- key-thoughts- on-new- practice-models- for-independent-physicians-which- will-stick.html), nearly half of the physicians recently surveyed by ProCare Systems said that this kind of arrangement was the most attractive model for remaining independent.
What’s an independent practice association? The article defines it as follows: “IPAs are a loose strategic alliance relationship that doesn’t include equity partnership but focuses on increased size and scale for payer negotiations and other partnerships.”
So, if you’re not interested in selling or merging, check into any IPA opportunities in your area to see how they may be beneficial to your practice.
Nearly 70 percent of patients of patients would prefer to receive bills electronically, yet 98 percent of provider practices still mail paper bills. That’s a disconnect that Tom Furr is trying to resolve … and he’s offering quite the reward to the practice that is successful.
Furr is the CEO of PatientPay, a patient payment solution, who thinks that the healthcare industry as a whole is slow to adapt a paperless system. He’s confident that paperless. In fact, in a recent article in Physician’s Money Digest (http://www.hcplive.com/physicians-money-digest/columns/financial- health-check- up/05-2016/software- company-dares- practices-to-go-paperless), Furr showed his confidence by issuing a challenge: a $10,000 reward to the provider that can show that paper billing is actually more efficient than paperless system. The challenge, according to the article, is as follows:
“Any licensed healthcare provider, whether a large group, a multi-location hospital system, or an independent practitioner could enter. To win the $10,000, entrants need to use PatientPay Paperless for 60 days, after which time per statement cost and average payment cycle achieved will be compared against submitted verified evidence of paper billing performance. If paper billing wins out, the entrant wins the prize.” The challenge was extended until June 30 (from the original date of March 31), for a simple reason. “No one has received my $10,000 check yet,” Furr told the publication.
Mentor a med-tech startup.
If you’re struggling to find the joy in your practice or simply feel burned out, here’s a unique idea: consider mentoring a med-tech startup.
That may sound counterintuitive. How can you become less burned out by taking on even more work? But in a recent article published on Fast Company (http://www.fastcompany.com/3059231/why-so- many-doctors- are-advising- startups), a number of doctors not only have found professional satisfaction in working with a startup, many have transitioned it into a full-time career.
What are the reasons for getting involved? Many doctors suggested it was “fun” or a relief from the stress of their day-to- day routines in a very informal Twitter poll. Others aren’t certain as to their future career paths while still others are weary from fighting documentation and billing systems. Still others see all of the problems the healthcare industry faces and want to be part of the solutions.
But regardless of the reason, it’s tough to ignore the impact that doctors — whether practicing or transitioning — have had on the healthcare startup scene.
Do any of these ideas strike a chord with you or your practice? Hopefully they inspire a creative way of thinking about healthcare and how we each might step outside of our comfortable boxes and come up with new, innovative solutions in our practices.