The New-fangled Changes or Challenges Coming to Primary Care Practice in 2021

Dr. Adam Tabriz

Independent Physicians need to accept the reality of Amid COVID-19 Pandemic ends
Photo by CDC on Unsplash

Over the past 12 months, the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly burdened patients, patient care, and the overall healthcare system. one can recognize its influence notably in the primary care field. Primary care clinicians are perpetually on the pandemic's front lines addressing the virus's prevention and triaging. Patients are correspondingly concerned that they may be disease-ridden and caring for those who are sick. However, during the coronavirus crisis, primary care clinics have struggled to keep their doors open, particularly in rural neighborhoods. Even though Small Grassroots medical clinics and hospitals wanted to provide top-notch medical services to local community patients instead, a good number of primary care clinics found themselves idol amidst the pandemic.

Primary Medical Care amidst Telehealth Surge

COVID-19's burden on U.S. medical practices has been unparalleled. A large number of small independent physician practices were forced to close because of the pandemic. Even doctors that are presently in practice are burning out. Meanwhile, telehealth and remote healthcare have erupted, providing unusual backing to a medical system under the flame.

Pandemic has motivated independent medical practices to adopt telehealth systems and shift many aspects of their medical services out of the medical offices and into the patient and, in some cases, physician homes. There is also a surge of exclusively virtual national health care providers. The companies such as Teladoc, Hims & Hers, Doctor on Demand have extended services to those whose primary care practice has padlocked.

While the myriad of shifts is reasonable, the doctor's offices' reduction is on the path to severe repercussions. The proprietary telehealth amenities that patients have come around to depend on amidst the COVID-19 pandemic are not designed for traditional primary care's long-term mission. For the reason that the Telehealth model is established based on urgent care standards, where you see the next available doctor regardless of who they are. Telehealth, by current means, provides valuable resources to patients in the absence of medical clinic access. However, it can't serve as an ancillary for the latter lest advanced technologies complement telehealth technology and independent medical practices.

Timely Medical Intervention amid COVID-19 and Primary Care

Traditionally, primary care medicine took a passive approach to treatment when physicians waited for patients to present with symptoms and complaints. That model is fast becoming obsolete.

Delayed medical care amid COVID-19 has increased morbidity and mortality attributed to both chronic and acute health conditions.
Photo by Dylan Ferreira on Unsplash

Due to rising concerns about COVID-19, By June 30, 2020, about 41% of U.S. adults had delayed medical care, including emergency care and routine overhaul, 12%, and 32%, respectively.

The conception of facets of medical care departure can facilitate understanding the approaches and communication undertakings motivating patients to pursue timely medical care, which has been under stress during 2020. Increasingly, primary care medical practices have or will have access to technology indicating transpiring with a patient even before they feel something wrong. Based on that, physicians will be expected to prescribe remote monitoring equipment such as glucometers, pulse oximeters, and digital blood pressure cuffs to keep track of patients between visits. Data collected remotely will reveal when a patient's condition worsens and prepare doctors for less frequent in-person visits. Patients, who have already shown willingness to supplement their care with digital tools, will increasingly demand the service. It will save lives and reduce costs. But then again, physicians have already committed themselves to escalate administrative burdens along with the imperative element of patient care. Hence managing this data can send already-burdened physicians into burnout mode. Primary physicians will also need to sponsor new staff or hire vendors to provide patients' touchpoints between patient visits.

Challenges aside, Remote Monitoring Practices

Patient health risk stratification is another challenge that is being thought of during 2021. Patients with complicated healthcare shortages may suffer unfavorable consequences from fragmented and delayed care, reducing well-being and increasing healthcare expenditures. The expected health reform efforts, particularly those in primary care, endeavor to mitigate the risk of adverse outcomes by better targeting aids to those most in need. However, predicting who is vulnerable to adverse effects, such as unplanned hospitalizations, emergency room visits, or other potentially avoidable expenses, can be problematic. Therefore, it's time to contemplate another strategy for patient panels. That is the new risk score. And primary care practice in 2021, the prevailing healthcare leaders target primary care practice to afford a thriving tool to drive healthier outcomes. They push the healthcare system to spread "risk scores" to more populations, allowing physicians to partake in potentially considerable shared savings.

According to some, in 2021, primary care physicians will be expected to create their patient panels' risk scores. That is a novel skill for many physician practices. The risk score is meant to translate Clinical physician judgment into who is most likely to end up in the emergency room. Primary Physicians will need to know when to make timely interventions and recognize their intervention's economic effect.

Primary Care Practice and the Utility of Incremental Revenue Model

Besides the timely intervention, telehealth, and risk stratification, the total practice revenue is another reform forecasted in 2021.

Conventionally primary care demand has been modeled through physician workforce planning models. Such models are founded on population ratios to provide compelling data respecting the market's correct number of primary care providers.

Incremental revenue is the earnings a medical practice gains from an increase in inpatient care. Total revenue can be used to determine the additional profits generated by a particular service operation when the quantity of sales becomes full-fledged.

"Incremental Revenue" is every so often associated with overhead expenses. Practices try to ensure the incremental revenue is higher than a product's total expense to generate revenue.

Medical practice using incremental revenue models must identify markets and service lines with the potential to generate total operating revenue. And must identify additional primary care physicians needed to generate enough Incremental Revenue to ensure financial sustainability.

Significant Changes in workday routines for Primary Physicians

Telehealth visits have been coating. Patients are now used to the convenience of remote treatment for minor acute problems. Their habits have been changed forever. Meaning, post-pandemic, a physician who had been documenting just an electronic health record has much more to on their plate. Fewer patients will come into the clinic, cutting routing time between the waiting room and exam room. As a result, the ability and expectation of booking more visits per hour will surge. Primary physicists will be logging in and out of multiple systems, telehealth portals, Electronic Health Records (EHR), and chronic condition management systems.
Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

Undoubtedly primary physicians have some adjustments to make. The independent primary care model will become increasingly sloped by pressures for timely intervention, actuarial thinking, and workday modifications. Ignoring these changes will also hinder physician reimbursement. As a result, those physicians reluctant to make investments in infrastructure and overhead should be concerned. Those who intended to retire in a short time might contemplate retiring even sooner. And for others, it means selling, joining a network or becoming employed, or considering acquisition by another entity.

Independent physicians, more than ever, will need to consider involving a management service organization to take care of moving parts of their practice freeing the physician to focus on patient care.

The changes coming to primary care practice offer a new road to financial opportunities with new challenges. But to turn those changes to their advantage, physicians need more robust technology stacks, more staff, more case managers, more vendors. The solutions are straightforward: either invest heavily in the business or consider giving up independence or even medical practice.

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Adam Tabriz is a Physician, Writer, Entrepreneur, and public health policy, expert. He is an advocate for Personal liberty. The combination of his experience and expertise underlines his passion for advocating true “Personalized Healthcare” and “Healthcare without Borders.” His favorite slogan is: “Peace of mind would come to all people through the universal respect for the basic human rights of everyone”

San Francisco, CA

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