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    How to survive in independent practice

    Finding strength in numbers and developing business savvy can help physicians retain their autonomy

     

    Leverage data

    Sharing data among physicians through an IPA can help physicians improve the care they offer to patients, says Tatiana Melnik,  JD, an attorney in Tampa, Florida with expertise in healthcare.

    “If you look at how physicians can stay independent long-term, it is to take advantage of the data they have, to really put themselves in a position to provide significantly better services,” Melnik says.

    To that end, IPAs and other alliances can provide technology that an individual physician may not be able to afford. “By being part of our organization, you have access to resources like IT [information technology] support to help with population health management and practice coaches. These are things that are very hard to do by ourselves,” says Schmeling, who left his family practice two years ago to run The Medical Group of Ohio.

    Software providers naturally see this as an opportunity and are racing to market with new options to help. Lori Fox Ward, RN, is senior vice president of strategic initiatives at Valence Health, a Chicago-based consulting firm that works with hospital systems and about 30 IPAs. Its Vision platform assists IPA clients with clinical quality and integration, helping physicians evaluate their performance and identify opportunities to improve care to their patient population. The software can be used to recommend methods to care for individual patients and identify gaps in services.

    “Organizations can identify high-cost, high-risk patients and really manage those patients more effectively,” Ward says.

    Examine other alliances

    Not all physicians find IPAs to be a good fit. In Kirkland’s view, physician-hospital integration is taking the lead over IPAs. In another approach to physician-hospital integration, hospitals contract with doctors for services under a professional services agreement (PSA). In the physician enterprise model, a hybrid approach, the hospital employs doctors but they retain ownership of their practice.

    “I feel that independent practice in groups, complemented by the support of a hospital organization, is the preferred model,” Kirkland says. Regardless, he adds, you’ll have more strength in any group than as a party of one.

    An independent practice group is another option. Providence Medical Group in Dayton, Ohio is owned and managed by about 40 physicians, mostly family practitioners.

    “They mostly had been employed through a local hospital system. The hospital divested them of ownership about 12 year ago,” says Susan Becker, chief operating officer.  Providence operates a management company that provides centralized services to the physicians. It runs its own clinical lab and gives the physicians access to a patient portal from athenahealth. It is working with athenaHealth to develop a population management software. The doctors pay fees for vendor management and billing services; at the end of the year, they get a profit-sharing distribution 

     “Physicians who are independent need to find a way to engage with someone who has access to technology and platforms they may not be able to have access to and to do something that is sustainable,” says Becker. “We have an organized approach that does that because we are a group.”

    Next: Look for high-impact savings

    6 Comments

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    • Tammy Mocal
      Well Elaine Pofeldt! I am very happy to read about this article "How to survive in independent practice". It is correct statement because I have red plus seen numerous essay site archvie but your contetn consist an attrection for the reader because of that anyone who look at this post recommend for reading once.
    • NimmiD
      This is common problem with all intern practitioner. Need some solution for this. I am looking something good out of this. dental implants india
    • EthanBryan
      It is very difficult to survive in the independent practice because of many reasons. There will not a proper guidance for the doctors and the people who are doing practice didn't learn properly.valet parking luton
    • THEODOREGWILLIAMS
      The place to start is the most critical area for a practice — its financial condition and operations. The best way to do this is with good benchmarking data. These data can be secured through many sources, including healthcare associations such as the Medical Group Management Association, suppliers, and networking. By comparing a practice's performance relative to benchmarking data, key areas of weakness can be identified for action. Benchmarking data should reflect the size, geography, specialty, and operating model of a practice, although some metrics can be viewed more universally. contact me for further information: http://www.medpmr.com/

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