Survey: High-performing medical groups embrace new technology, value-based care
As healthcare continues to experience tremendous change, medical groups that proactively embrace a patient-centric, value-based approach to practice management are outperforming those following the status quo, according to the 2017 Practice Performance Index (PPI). CareCloud, a platform for high-performance medical groups, collaborated with UBM Medica to conduct the PPI study examining the issues affecting the financial and operational performance of U.S. medical practices.
The more than 2,000 practice leaders who responded to the survey were grouped into three segments based on their performance over the last three years: high-performing, managing, or falling behind. Performance segments were based on the following criteria: increases in practice collections, number of practice locations, number of providers, total patient volume, and provider satisfaction. While there were no significant differences in responses based on practice size, specialty, or geography, there were significant differences in responses between the “high-performing” and “falling behind” performance segments.
High-performing medical practices stood out from the competition in three key areas:
Preparing for reimbursement changes
- 56% of high-performing practices have a plan in place for the shift to value-based care, compared to 32% for the falling behind segment.
- Practices that are falling behind are twice as likely to have no plan for value-based care, reporting they expect the law to change this year.
- 53% of high-performing practices are aiming to earn a full or partial Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) incentive this year, compared to only 35% of falling behind practices.
Adopting innovative health technology
- High-performers are twice as likely than falling behind practices to adopt new technologies that differentiate them and deliver choice to patients.
- Not only have more than two-thirds of high-performers embraced patient portals, but they are leading in adoption of innovations, including advanced population health analytics, telemedicine, iPad-based intake forms, and check-in kiosks.
- All practice leaders are skeptical about wearables, with close to 70% of respondents expressing no interest in pursuing new devices in their practice.
Improving patient experience
- More than 80% of high-performing practices survey patients and use online review sites, compared to almost half of falling behind practices that collect no feedback from patients.
- High-performers also lead in investing in telemedicine (24%), additional payment options (21%) and check-in kiosks (19%) to expand the level of service and convenience offered to patients.
- “With the market quickly becoming more value-based and consumer-driven, we’re seeing the emergence of new technologies that enable custom workflows and new patient offerings that didn’t exist just a few years before, said Ken Comée, CEO of CareCloud. “What this survey shows is that those medical group executives who act on these opportunities are seeing higher operational and financial performance than those who maintain the status quo.”
High-performing practices reported expecting pressures to intensify at higher rates than those falling behind (63% v. 52%)—this could be as a result of their greater degree of forward planning (many have a plan for value-based care transitions) or may simply reflect a more realistic assessment of the many challenges facing practices today. Also, providers and staff in high-performing practices report much higher rates of overall job satisfaction (69%) compared to those working in falling behind practices (7%).
In open-ended responses, many practice leaders talked about innovating care delivery outside the influence of payer and regulatory forces: “[We will] continue to offer more personal hands-on medical care to patients so as to keep swimming against the tide of the ‘corporatization’ of medicine phenomenon” and “[We will] continue to treat patients as individuals, medical condition, and human personality frailty included, with minimal intrusion by massive third-party entities.”
In reference to goals for the year ahead, medical practices were split between wanting to expand through hiring and acquisition (“[We plan to] add staff and providers to keep pace with growth”) or to close their practices (“[I want to] get out of medicine and leave the headaches behind”).
Practice Performance Index (PPI) Methodology
CareCloud has been tracking the financial and operational performance of physician practices since 2013 through partnerships with leading organizations in the field. In 2017, the PPI was carried out with the support of UBM Medica, one of the largest healthcare media and publishing companies in the United States. UBM Medica is a wholly owned subsidiary of UBM. 2,020 physicians and practice administrators participated in the fourth annual PPI survey during March and April of 2017, making it one of the largest efforts of its kind in the industry. Participants provided their insights via an interactive online survey.