Can Small Practices Stay Independent?

Lea Chatham October 7th, 2013

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There has been a lot of debate recently about the future of the small medical practice and whether these practices can stay independent in changing times. According to some recent studies, technology may be the key to helping these medical professionals maintain their independence and even thrive despite the challenges.

There is no doubt that electronic health records are full of promise. Study after study shows that even though physicians don’t think we are quite there yet, most believe that EHRs have the potential to improve care and reduce costs. But it will take more than EHRs to streamline practices and allow them to improve and/or maintain revenue. In the 2013 Black Book Rankings Survey, over 8,000 physicians and healthcare staff contributed their perceptions. There was a clear trend in their responses. Practices today are using outdated IT solutions, they believe that seamlessly integrated practice management, EHR, and billing solutions are the best bet to help them survive changing times, and many are ready to make a change to a single vendor solution. Here are some of the key findings:

  • 87% of all physician practices agree their billing and collections systems/processes need upgrading
  • 92% of those seeking a PM upgrade are only considering an EHR centric module
  • 71% are considering a combination of software and outsourcing services to improve revenue cycle management
  • 89% of those state a preference for a single source vendor

The reason behind the shift appears to be the desire of small practice physicians to stay independent. About half of all physicians work in practices with fewer than five physicians according the CDC Center for National Health Statistics. While some small practices are selling out to larger practices or hospitals, many want to remain independent. In the 2013 Great American Physician Survey, conducted by Physicians Practice and sponsored by Kareo, nearly 50% of physicians said they wanted to be practicing the same way five years from now.

Find out more about how to maintain your independence as a small practice in the upcoming event offered by Kareo and Physicians Practice, 4 Ways to Keep Your Practice Independent on November 7.

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