There is an increasing trend towards cash-based medical practice. Some are high-end “Anti-Aging” or “Age Management” practices that regard aging as a treatable condition that can be substantially delayed through the application of hormone replacement, nutritional supplementation, and other non-conventional medical modalities. Another cash practice is a typical family practice that has become frustrated with the insurance model and has started a new paradigm of cash-based medicine. All of them share the basic principle that they do not maintain contracts with insurance companies and instead require patients to pay cash for the medical services rendered.
To be successful and profitable in the insurance model, a practice must have a very high daily patient volume (35 – 40 for a single practitioner family practice) to generate the income needed to earn a “professional” level of income. Along with high volume comes a lot of overhead including a large office and some support staff just to start. Due to the volume combined with a number of logistical factors (patients arriving late, office inefficiency, etc.), patients typically have to wait 30 – 60 minutes or more from their scheduled appointment time, all of this only to spend an average of 6 minutes. minutes with the doctor. The inefficiency of this model is at least partly responsible for the relatively low overall health care effectiveness in the US when compared to other industrialized countries.
“New” Doctor Company
The “new” doctor company is all about prevention, new revenue streams, operating on a “cash” model, maintaining a high quality doctor/patient relationship yet operating with enterprise-like efficiency. Technology is the driving force behind new Physician Companies and the right technology must be fast to deploy, easy to use, accessible 24×7 for patients and staff, and highly cost effective.
In the new paradigm, doctors see as few as 7 – 10 patients per day, have much smaller staff, much lower overhead and have the ability to actually participate in health, identify root causes of disease rather than just focusing on symptoms and therefore positively affect the results. Patients pay doctors in cash bypassing the insurance model and all the accompanying reimbursement rules that many believe interfere with effective patient care and favorable outcomes.
But without effective technology to enable the practice, cash practices will still experience higher-than-necessary staff and overhead costs like insurance model practices, impacting the model’s long-term viability. The main enabling technologies for cash-out practices can be broadly categorized as “self-service” technologies. For example, instead of having staff schedule appointments for patients, the practice could implement a web-based self-service appointment scheduling system. There are several low-cost systems on the market today that offer a high level of configuration to accommodate physician schedules, multiple appointment types, and nearly any scheduling complexity that can be managed by a human. Furthermore, as many practices operating in the new paradigm offer nutritional supplements for sale, internet shopping carts are a natural solution to this rather than having staff take orders. Again, there are several commercially available tools that can meet this need. Broadly speaking, the need for cash practices can be summarized by the following list of requirements:
- Patient Management Database (profiles, demographics, questions)
- Electronic Medical Records
- Appointment Scheduling
- Marketing and Communication for prospective patients and patients
- Shopping cart
- Accounting/Financial Management
Continuing the approach outlined above, cash practices could apply several commercially available tools to meet this unique need as the typical Practice Management Systems offered today continue to target practices that operate within the insurance model and typically do not include shopping carts, self-service appointment scheduling real estate, marketing and communications engine, or financial management. But using a different multiple systems deployment approach creates another inefficiency as patient demographics have to be entered and maintained in multiple systems and most importantly, there is no support for ideal business processes in this scenario.
Enabling Technology for Cash Medical Practice
But now, there is a new option for cash medical practices facing this problem. Using XML, HL7 and current integration technologies, it is possible to integrate 3rd party applications in the “cloud”, enabling all systems to share a common database for demographics but precludes the practice of having to host any hardware or software. In this target environment, practices can deploy multiple self-service applications, integrate them using modern integration approaches, and add workflows to provide additional efficiencies. This approach has a low cost of entry, a relatively low total cost of ownership, but provides significant benefits to the practice.
Undoubtedly, major software companies will eventually see this niche and deliver fully integrated apps to serve them, but for now cash practices have at least one viable option to leverage technology to empower doctors to practice medicine, patients to receive the care they need. better and practices to be carried out. profitable.
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