Small practices increasingly will need software support

Transition to value-based care impacted by more regulations, says Jim Elliot.

Small physician practices are going to need a lot of hand-holding as they try to meet requirements of the MACRA, MIPS and value-based care initiatives.

These physicians will need to lean on their ambulatory software vendors for help, and it will be incumbent on the company to be ready, says Jim Elliot, chief marketing officer at vendor firm AdvancedMD, which focuses on the small practice market. “There’s definitely a big education process going on in our businesses.”

Vendors also will have to offer more than standard electronic records and practice management systems. Physicians should expect to be offered software to support automated appointment reminders, telemedicine visits and patient self-scheduling through patient portals.

Value-based care will be the big challenge, as even seasoned healthcare professionals will be rookies as they enter this new way of delivering care, Elliot notes. AdvancedMD in recent months offered a five-part series of web seminars to clients and prospects.

Also See: Group practice IT expenses reach $32,500 per physician

Helping providers improve their security posture also should be a priority for vendors, he contends. AdvancedMD spent 3.5 years under the ownership of ADP, a major vendor of payroll, human resources and human capital management software and services, and learned a lot from the parent company.

“Their corporate security division descended on us and brought our awareness of security to banking-grade level,” according to Elliot. That led to further education of physicians, such as warning them not to conduct telemedicine visits via Skype, which is not HIPAA-compliant.

Provider data security is further imperiled by the fact that independent physicians think like consumers and they don’t fully appreciate cyber threats until they become a victim, as many of the smallest practices employ family members in the office who are not given security training.

Independent practices further lack in having the most basic information technology infrastructure, Elliot says. Too many still don’t have their practice management and electronic health record systems integrated, and lack telemedicine, population health management and analytics capability.

“When you don’t have telemedicine integrated with the EHR and PPM, you have to write things down and manually enter data, so virtual and office schedules may not mesh.”

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