- Physician revenue dropped by an average of 32% due to the pandemic, according to a nationwide survey.
- Physician groups and outpatient clinics are still feeling the financial effects of delayed elective surgeries and procedures, with ongoing concerns about exposure to the disease.
- Clinical collaboration platforms can improve scheduling capabilities, enhance communication with hospital colleagues, and reduce unnecessary hospitalizations.
- Groups that invest in staff, facilities, and operations can boost profitability, productivity, and value.
Physician groups and ambulatory care facilities have weathered the COVID-19 pandemic with significant revenue losses. Physician revenue dropped by an average of 32% due to the pandemic, according to a nationwide American Medical Association (AMA) survey.
The AMA also revealed that in the first six months of 2020, Medicare Physician Fee Schedule spending ranged from a 6% reduction for nephrology to a 29% reduction for ophthalmology and a 34% reduction for physical therapists. Nearly a year later, physician groups and outpatient clinics are still feeling the financial effects of delayed elective surgeries and procedures, with ongoing concerns about exposure to the disease.
Tighter budgets are requiring staff to do more with less—and simplify processes wherever they can. Streamlining clinical collaboration is a major priority for cost-conscious organizations that want to improve care delivery in the pandemic era and beyond. Clinical collaboration platforms can improve workflows by:
Improving scheduling capabilities for ambulatory care facilities
Provider groups and ambulatory clinics of all sizes face the challenge of efficient, transparent scheduling. Verifying which clinicians are on call, in consultation, or on vacation is a constant struggle—and so is updating schedules across multiple platforms. Some facilities still rely on paper schedules, multiple spreadsheets and faxes. These methods can delay time-sensitive communications about patient care.
These disparate systems also lack flexibility and the ability to provide real-time coverage updates—and force staff to duplicate their efforts, adding to staffing and budgetary issues. Clinical collaboration platforms provide a unified dashboard for all staff members to see who’s available and use role-based messaging to consult with colleagues.
Enhancing communication between ambulatory care facilities and hospitals
Many provider groups and ambulatory care facilities have strong partnerships with local hospitals through common ownership or other operating agreements. Yet communication between facilities can be surprisingly fragmented—especially when hospitals and specialists prefer different communication methods.
Clinical collaboration platforms can reduce interruptions at physician groups and ambulatory care facilities by sharing real-time on-call schedules with hospitals. Enabling smooth communication and rapid consultation allows teams to accelerate patient care.
Reducing unnecessary hospitalizations
Under the Affordable Care Act, reducing unnecessary hospitalizations and readmissions is a top priority for providers. When teams collaborate in real time, patients get appropriate care without unneeded delays, which can prevent them from heading to the hospital.
Improving profitability, productivity, and value
Investing in staff, facilities, and operations separates top-performing medical groups from the pack, according to a Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) report. MGMA rates physician practices on operations, profitability, productivity, and value.
“Compared to lower performing practices, better performer practices reported nearly 9% higher medical total operating cost per full-time-equivalent physician,” the report concluded. “Better performer practices also reported 19% higher median total physician compensation and benefits.”
Consolidating communication into one cohesive platform can translate to greater physician performance, engagement, and satisfaction. And depending on the costs associated with legacy platforms, it may be more cost-effective.
Bringing it all together
Under the Affordable Care Act’s mandates to reduce hospitalizations and measure patient outcomes, provider groups and ambulatory care clinics must focus on delivering high-value care, rather than juggling workflow and communication channels. Clinical collaboration platforms allow medical provider groups and clinics to maximize productivity and care delivery—creating a win-win for facilities and patients alike.