Survey Highlights Physicians’ ACO Plans, Technology Wishes

November 29, 2012

As Santa’s making a list and checking it twice, physicians are considering their partnership options and technology purchases this holiday season - and are still left a little uncertain about what to do next.

As Santa’s making a list and checking it twice, physicians are considering their partnership options and technology purchases this holiday season - and are still left a little uncertain about what to do next.

A newly released, three-part technology survey orchestrated by EHR vendor Greenway Medical Technologies this past summer - which includes questions answered by about 200 practice-based physicians via online hub Sermo - shed light on physicians’ shifting attitudes about partnerships with other health organizations.

While physicians see themselves at the forefront of healthcare transformation, they also feel pressure to migrate to larger health systems, especially if Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements go down. More than 20 percent of those physicians surveyed said they have already chosen at least one ACO partner and nearly 60 percent indicated that they are considering an ACO partnership.

Additionally, nearly 50 percent of physicians surveyed would align with or seek direct employment with a larger health system if Medicare/Medicaid reimbursements are lowered.

According to researchers, these results support other findings that suggest that many physicians are looking to larger practices and hospitals to help meet the demands of today’s changing marketplace.

For the most part, the findings were not surprising, Justin Barnes, vice president of marketing, industry affairs and government affairs, for Greenway Medical Technologies, told Physicians Practice.

“They certainly are open to partnerships such as an ACO,” said Barnes. “They do understand that care coordination is important. But they’re not yet sure what ACOs are made of. There aren’t hundreds or thousands of examples of how value-based medicine is superior."

Because such partnerships are imminent, physician practices investing in technology need to think ahead, considering issues such as standards-based interoperability (CCD, CCDA) outlined in the final rule for Stage 2 of CMS’ “meaningful use” EHR incentive program, when making purchases.

“Physicians need to really look for the right partner, the right solution that can really enable their work-flow needs today, and will hopefully address their needs in the future,” said Barnes. “This includes having an EHR that can be used by their practice efficiently and allows them to share information at the lowest cost possible.”