There are many things that can get in the way of running an efficient and helpful medical practice, most of which have very little to do with practicing medicine. As a physician, you want to treat your patients, do your part to make sure the practice runs smoothly, and to be able to trust that each staff member will address their own specific tasks. However, it is likely that too often during the day the practice hits a roadblock that requires you to take your attention away from patient care. Roadblocks in a medical practice can be anything from scheduling conflicts to front desk staff not being informed of which insurance companies you participate with. No matter the roadblock, it can derail even the most efficient medical practice management. Here are some of the most common roadblocks:
Breaking Through Practice Management Roadblocks
- Paperwork- Nowadays there seems to be a form for everything, most of which are complicated enough to require an instruction manual. Additionally, physician practices have experienced an increase in prior authorizations. In 2006, brand name medications covered by Medicare Part D that needed prior authorization was at 8 percent, in 2013 that number had risen to 21 percent. Not to mention, in 2014 Deloitte conducted a survey that revealed 75 percent of doctors said Electronic Health Records (EHR) systems aren’t saving them time.
- Insurers Influencing- Most physicians’ goals are to provide quality care for their patients. However, it is hard to provide quality care and services needed with insurers breathing down your neck. It seems impossible to attend a conference or training class anymore without the word “audit” being thrown around. If your coding is too high, audit. If your coding is too low, audit. The threat of insurance companies, whether perceived or real, reduces the efficiency of a medical practice and increases the time spent by both the physician and the front desk staff. Insurers are starting to audit accounts requiring the producing of patient documents up to 10 years after treatment.
- Technology Pressure- The cost alone of information technologies for physicians has increased dramatically over the past decade. With incentivized pressures from the federal level for adopting EHR systems, practices are almost forced to adapt or be left behind. Transitioning over to these systems is a practice management nightmare all its own. However, transitioning is just the first step. Maintaining those systems is where the real roadblocks come in, in the form of increased documentation, hardware and software support, etc.
- Liability Concerns- Malpractice suits are on the rise and expected to increase even more with patient numbers rising due to the Affordable Care Act. This is causing some physicians to try to avoid lawsuits by increasing the number of tests used to diagnose patients. This leads to increased billing and coding and causes more medical practice management issues including the risk of, dare we say it, an audit.