The ABC of Physician Engagement and Why Point-of-Care Support is needed for Physicians

Updated on April 7, 2018

AbhinavBy Abhinav Shashank

In January 2015, the Department of Health and Human Services set a goal to tie 50% of the Medicare payments to value or quality by 2018. This transition has put physicians on the frontlines of healthcare, as they play a major role in the value-based roadmap of an organization.

However, on the downside, this shift is causing substantial physician burnout – PCPs are spending more than 50% of their workday in the EHR doing documentation, order entry, billing, and coding, instead of spending time with their patients. There is a need to reduce physician’s IT usage by giving them easy and quick access to actionable information such as care-, and coding- gaps, thereby allowing physicians to focus on things that matter most – delivery and improvement of care.

“Physicians are spending 70% of their time with EHRs and only 30% of it with their patients.”

Regardless of how many patients physicians see per day, they have to put in an equal, if not more number of hours in front of the EHRs for logging in every single detail. Physicians are likely very interested in quality care and making the care processes efficient; it is important to understand the implications that would be created on their reimbursements with a solution that mitigates IT usage burnout. Physicians should automatically be updated instead of having to inquire about information they need at any given moment as it might be disengaging. It is possible to engage physicians so that they can take forward the quality improvement efforts.

Alternative Physician engagement methodologies and their adoption

Making improvements to the healthcare system are the top of the agenda but how does the current scenario of physician engagement compare to this? Addressing the problem of physician burnout, several methods for engaging physicians have surfaced over the past few years:

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All of these methods are sub-optimal – either they are labor-intensive, or costly to implement, or require physicians to leave the EHR and go to another portal, thus decreasing the physician adoption rates. It is critical to engage physicians in a timely and effective manner to bring information transparency across the network and allow for prompt identification of low-quality care outcomes and unnecessarily high-cost events.

The solution: Engaging physicians with point of support for smarter and holistic care

Addressing above limitations, there is a dire need for a smart point-of-care support for physicians that is automated, easy to implement, and user-friendly. A support system that operates right besides EHR, pinpoints and surfaces only relevant insights, including care gaps and risk factors, which will help physicians right at the point of care without being overloaded with too much information.

Providing precise insights

Physicians require a solution that pops up just the precise insights like care gaps and risk factors to assist them in working with the patient within the EHR at the point of care. Moreover, creating a holistic picture of patients remains highly essential for physicians, however, it is still a challenge because of siloed data storage platforms in healthcare.This lack of a 360-degree view for every patient is a major barrier to collaborative and coordinated care efforts. These challenges can be addressed by integrating various patient-specific datasets, including clinical and claims and surfacing key insights on the physician’s screen in nearly real-time.

Personalizing patient interactions

Almost 80% of healthcare data is unstructured, and thus, to create impact at scale, physicians need pioneering analytic capabilities. For example, if a patient has visited the ED three times in the past two months, he needs to be tagged as a ‘frequent ED visitor.’ Giving physicians access to this information will guide them to revisit and optimize their care-programs for this patient such that the patient’s ED visits go down, which would further translate into decreased overall spend for the network.

Smart analytics that goes beyond EMRs to understand patient usage patterns across the entire system including details of ED visits, in-patient admissions, readmissions, and medication adherence can reduce the burdens on physicians by a considerable margin.

Summarizing measures or screenings due

The ideal solution must inform physicians about actions or the work that is required to be done on the patients to improve quality of care and patient experience. When physicians have access to a detailed summary of screenings outstanding for each patient, they can directly qualify the target quality measures. For example, if there is a patient who has missed his diabetes eye exam, the physician will be notified of the same, thus giving the physician a chance to close the care-gap by talking to the patient.

Improving clinical documentation

The increasing focus on value-based reimbursement has made it crucial for care organizations to focus on accurate risk-adjustments. If the notifications of diagnosis are absent from previous documentations, it severely affects the opportunities for better reimbursements.

Each risk point approximately has an impact of $8,000 on reimbursement, which equates to a significant savings opportunity at a population level.

Physicians should be notified about diagnosis codes that were potentially dropped or miscoded, at the appropriate time, thus giving them an opportunity to update them when the patient arrives for their next visit.

Synchronizing with physicians’ schedule to give timely reminders

Delivering quality care also requires physicians to manage their time across patients effectively. The right solution integrates itself easily with existing physician workflows. Physicians, having lists upcoming patient appointments in a calendar-like view, will be able to deliver speedy care with more efficiency. As with timely reminders and push alerts, physicians can simply sort through their appointments and set daily goals.

To summarize, a solution such as this directly reduces hassles, bottlenecks, and delays and indirectly, improves the care of patients. Helping physicians to close both care- and coding-gaps by providing them access to all the patient-relevant data-points right at the point of care while at the same time, retaining the clinical workflow experience will revolutionize physician engagement.

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The Editorial Team at Healthcare Business Today is made up of skilled healthcare writers and experts, led by our managing editor, Daniel Casciato, who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We offer readers access to fresh health, medicine, science, and technology developments and the latest in patient news, emphasizing how these developments affect our lives.