News Feature | September 28, 2016

Selling MACRA Technology To Smaller Practices

By Megan Williams, contributing writer

CMS Increases Telemedicine Reimbursement

Smaller practices might not be quite ready to take on the challenges of MACRA, but it’s never too early for MSPs to start talking tech solutions with them. Small practices in particular are going to find themselves facing an incredibly complex reimbursement environment and, according to Diagnostic Imaging, tech won’t be an option in keeping up.

The Truth About Tech Adoption
The industry has charged ahead in EHR adoption, but that progress has largely been centered on larger facilities, hospitals, and health system-owned practices. Smaller practices, for the most part, are still playing catchup — only 50 percent have an EHR compared to 80 percent of practices with 11 or more providers.

Those numbers though, don’t mean smaller practices aren’t interested in navigating the challenges of MACRA. A recent Black Book survey found a full 91 percent of physician practices actually expect to see their profitability drop because of diminishing reimbursements as well as underutilized or inefficient billing and records technology.

The good news for MSPs is that by-and-large, smaller providers understand they have a problem. Over two-thirds of practices surveyed were in agreement their billing and collections systems and processes were in need of an upgrade. Most also indicated they were open to integrating technology to help connect practice management and revenue cycle management with their EHRs.

Painting The Right Picture
In the past, technology upgrades were very expensive, especially for smaller providers. This perception of cost likely still lingers among many of your clients and it will be important to address that up front. Only five years ago server-based EHRs could run $233,000 just for the first year, not factoring in separate costs for setup and implementation.

Solutions now are better integrated, more affordable, and much easier to install. Maintenance is also much less burdensome. This is an important point as MACRA does focus on the use of technology and using paper will no longer be a viable option.

Diagnostic Imaging is making a few, key recommendations to companies looking to prepare for MACRA’s technology requirements:

  • Consider the cloud.
  • Focus searches on an integrated platform built on a single patient database.
  • Don’t rule out low cost, subscription-based software solutions.
  • Keep engagement features (such as text reminders, patient portals, follow-up communications, and online scheduling) in mind.
  • Prioritize solutions that have native mobile apps as an option.

Getting your clients caught up for MACRA will be a challenge, however, a focus on their needs, as well as their patients’ will help smooth your conversations and guide them to a solution that will be effective in their navigating today’s regulatory environment.