The Top 5 Challenges Of Independent Practitioners In 2022
We as normal people are facing so many troubles and challenges in our workplace and home. We know that every field has its own set of work pressure, even homemakers have to face stress and problems like any other work.
But, have you ever wondered, the challenges physicians face in their work and personal life? How are they managing the stress, tension, and workloads they have daily? In this article, you will learn about the challenges faced by an independent practitioner in 2022.
Everyone was broke with the entry of a new obstacle, COVID-19. It was so devastating. Even though it was a nightmare, people and healthcare organizations found new ways and upgraded already available things to strive through the pandemic.
It was hard for everyone even though they managed to come out and live along with the situation now.
Now, when the doctors who work with and for organizations/hospitals face these challenges, imagine what would have been or will be the situation of an independent practitioner?
Independent practitioners must cross a set of obstacles every day. It ranges from payment problems to burnout.
So, a basic question. Who is an independent practitioner?
Any individual permitted by law and by the Medical Staff and Board to provide care and services without direction or supervision, within the scope of the individual’s license, and consistent with individually granted clinical privileges is called a Licensed Independent Practitioner (LIPs).
Independent practices are individually assured to lead the way to a more advanced approach to healthcare.
According to a source, the number of independent medical practices has decreased significantly in the past several years. Only 14% of U.S. physician practices were hospital-owned in 2012; that number had increased to 29% in 2016. According to a 2018 survey, 54% of physicians worked in independent medical practices in that year, while in 2020, that number had decreased to just 49%. And It would have been started to increase more in 2022.
According to them, the independent practices deliver cost-effective, quality care to patients. Despite their dwindling numbers, they are responsible for the majority of the healthcare delivered in the U.S. today.
Studies show that smaller, physician-owned practices provide a higher degree of personalization and responsiveness to patients’ needs; lower average cost per patient; fewer preventable hospital admissions; and lower readmission rates than larger or hospital-owned practices.
So, let’s dive into the challenges faced by them.
1. EHR tracking and interoperability
Poor interfacing and lack of communication between systems can be caused by a clumsy Electronic Health Record (EHR). This is a serious challenge faced by independent practitioners today.
EHR contains sophisticated details which should be handled carefully. The unattentiveness may cause problems and increase harm for patient care and also increase physician burnout.
While not much is likely to change this year, the physicians are advised by experts to go through any training available for their particular system and to understand and learn whatever shortcuts are available and the ways to streamline their operations and interactions to reduce the time spent on it.
2. Payment process
It becomes a challenge when it comes to billing and getting paid. The claims are billing invoices for the service rendered by the practitioner.
Now, Practices that interact with the patients for providing services under HIPAA, must send most of the billing claims via electronic means.
The designated medical biller needs to do a follow-up on the claim and make sure that the provider gets the reimbursement for the service contributed by them.
Accurate coding and documentation are required for avoiding denials and rejections of claims. And this itself is a great burden for an independent practitioner.
The practitioners should know about how to avoid Evaluation and Management coding denials.
3. Lesser time to engage with patients
In recent years, the most concentrated or the top things that made the practitioners continuously engage with are the EHRs and administrative works. They took the majority of a practitioner’s time both in independent and hospital-owned practices, from other works.
These tasks reduced the time the practitioners had to engage with their patients.
One of the reasons for this change is the fluctuating time in the patient visits.
Nearly all providers have started using EHRs to record their patient experiences. It became necessary for providers to adjust and change their patient visits and documentation of workflows with the addition of IT into clinical encounters.
This process was again complicated by the arrival of COVID-19.
A physician survey found that clinicians are working longer hours but spending less time with patients, due to the growing amount of paperwork required, including time spent in EHRs.
4. Securing health information
Securing health information from hackers is a crucial process when it comes to practices. A healthcare practice is always a target for hackers. The type of data collected and stored is one of the main reasons.
Healthcare data prefer to go for a higher amount on the black markets than other types of stolen data.
This won't be less in 2022, the threat will continue to grow.
To help protect a practice from these threats, they have to establish some policies and follow them strictly. Some of them are,
- Restriction in using unknown sources for opening e-mails and credentials
- Training and educating staff, if any, about the available threats
- Ensuring that there are enough back-ups for data in a secure remote location,
- Making sure of restriction in access of data and applications,
- Using secure wireless networks and mobile devices,
- Making regular assessments.
5. Increased physician burnout
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality defines burnout as a long-term stress reaction that is characterized by emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and a loss of feelings of personal accomplishment.
The National Academy of Medicine reports that more than 50% of U.S. physicians report symptoms of burnout. A survey from the Physicians Foundation reveals:
- 80% of physicians in all specialties report feeling they are working at full capacity or are overextended
- 78% report feelings of burnout
- 65% feel more overworked now than at the start of their careers
COVID-19 has worsened the situation. Practitioners loiter than ever before on documentation and administrative tasks, leading to dissatisfaction and burnout.
A 2016 study found that providers spend nearly two hours on EHR and desk work for every hour of direct clinical face time with patients, and a 2018 physician survey found that providers spend almost half their time on data entry and other administrative tasks.
Burnout is a major challenge for independent practices, but by tackling EHR usability and using Practice Management, practices can address one of the burnout’s major causes.
Practitioners or physicians are humans like the rest of us and they have also been revealed to the same feelings as others during the pandemic. They too suffer from a severe sense of personal threat, anxiety attacks, and loss of control in both personal and professional lives. Even some private practitioners have suffered from financial pressures.
As an independent practitioner, you may be clueless at the moment to decide how to overcome these hurdles and manage everything on your own.
Vozo is here to help you with it. You can trust us with your EHR, Medical Billing, Practice Management, and so many other software that allow you to shed off your burdens. Visit our website today and contact us to know and avail of the products offered by us.
“Let’s make your professional and personal life stressless, together”