As we wrote in our recent white paper, How a Phased Approach to Value-Based Care Works: For Health Plans, Health Systems and Their Value-Based Partners, physicians are the heart of healthcare delivery, and health plans, health systems and hospitals that are succeeding in value-based care have engaged and activated their network of providers.
That said, most healthcare organizations are struggling with provider adoption and engagement. A lack of provider engagement, for example, is often cited as the reason for slower than expected adoption of value-based care.
By all accounts, we’re a quite far from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services goal to have at least 50 percent of all Medicare payments tied to quality or value through alternative payment models by the end of 2018.
A Health Care Payment Learning & Action Network analysis of 2018 data from 62 health plans, seven fee-for-service Medicaid states and traditional Medicare concludes, “the healthcare industry is about a third of the way to payment reform.” In 2018, nearly 36 percent (35.8) of healthcare payments were tied to alternative payment models, up from 34 percent in 2017.
Is it any wonder burned out physicians burdened by suboptimal EHRs are reluctant to change?
After all, far too many physicians are burned out. Geneia’s national survey of physicians in 2019 found:
- Eight in 10 (84 percent) say the quality time doctors are able to spend with patients has decreased in the last 10 years.
- More than three-quarters (77 percent) know a physician who is likely to stop practicing medicine in the next five years due to burnout.
- Nearly three-quarters of surveyed physicians (74 percent) say the challenges of practicing medicine in today’s environment have caused them to consider career options outside of clinical practice.
- An overwhelming majority (83 percent) say they are personally at risk for burnout at some point in their career.
Eight Ways to Improve Physician Adoption and Engagement
Over the years of working with health plans, hospitals and physician practices, we’ve learned some important lessons about what works. Here are eight ways to improve physician adoption and engagement:
1. Listen. Ensure physicians know they’ve been heard.
The physicians Geneia surveyed said one good way to do this is to put more purpose, clarity and intention behind physician engagement surveys. Offer concrete examples of ways the survey results have or will impact change.
2. Invest in physician time-savers like scribes who, among other things, allow providers to engage more fully with patients during visits. Other popular physician time-savers are pre-visit planning, pre-visit lab testing and care team huddles.
3. Empower the care team – medical assistants, nurse care managers, care coordinators and others – and administrative staff to do more, allowing healthcare organizations to reserve physicians’ time for improving the patient relationship, diagnosis and treatment. If given the right information and tools, the care team and administrative staff are perfectly equipped to identify risk, coordinate care, manage open care gaps, motivate and engage patients, and perform recordkeeping.
4. Acknowledge that physicians need more time and resources to care for patients who have complex healthcare needs, and create the infrastructure to support these patients and the providers who care for them.
5. Consider a phased approach that prioritizes early wins for providers, as did one of the health plans we profiled in our recent white paper, How a Phased Approach to Value-Based Care Works: For Health Plans, Health Systems and Their Value-Based Partners.
6. As early as possible, involve providers in any decision-making process for health IT they’ll be expected to use, such as a shared analytics platform. To the extent possible, allow providers to drive the selection process.
7. Pilot health IT solutions with a subset of providers to work out the kinks and ultimately cultivate physician champions who can influence other providers. Involve the pilot group in the implementation process as early as possible.
8. Recognize that health IT training is not a ‘once-and-done’ during implementation, but is an ongoing effort to increase physician adoption.
To learn more about how to improve your provider adoption, check out these additional resources:
- Geneia White Paper: How a Phased Approach to Value-Based Care Works: For Health Plans, Health Systems and Their Value-Based Partners
- Geneia Case Study: Practice Transformation Helps Commonwealth Physicians Achieve Value-Based Care Success
- Geneia Best Practices: Selecting the Right Analytics to Build Physician Adoption and Trust