HealthLeaders Media PhysicianLeaders - June 25, 2009 | Small Practices Need Big EHR Help View as a Webpage | Subscribe for Free
Small Practices Need Big EHR Help
Elyas Bakhtiari, Managing Editor

While implementing an EHR system can be complicated and expensive (even with federal incentives) in any practice, it is particularly challenging for small and solo practices that can't spread the cost burden among a large group. That's why only about 13% of small and solo practices have implemented EHRs, compared to 57% of physicians in practices with more than 50 doctors. [Read More]
  June 25, 2009

Editor's Picks
Physician compensation trails inflation
Physician compensation failed to keep up with inflation in 2008, according to MGMA's latest compensation survey. Primary care physicians saw a 2% increase—which was a 1.73% decrease when adjusted for inflation—for a median of $186,044. Specialists' compensation rose 2.19%—a 1.59% drop when adjusted for inflation—to a median of $339,738. Unfortunately, these trends aren't that surprising and aren't that different from recent years. Part of the stagnation could be due to the economy, but the underlying problem is a Medicare reimbursement system that hasn't increased payouts in years. [Read More]
McAllen doctors fight back
Atul Gawande's New Yorker article about the healthcare cost conundrum in McAllen, TX has been making waves. It is supposedly required reading at the White House, and President Obama referenced it during his address to the AMA last week. But this week physicians of McAllen claimed Gawande got it all wrong—they argue that McAllen's residents are sicker and poorer than average, and that Gawande's data was inaccurate because it wasn't risk adjusted. Gawande offered a rebuttal to the critics in blog post, explaining that he compared McAllen to nearby El Paso, which is also a relatively poor and unhealthy community but has lower healthcare costs. [Read More]
Doctors don't tell patients about 7% of abnormal test results
When patients' test results are abnormal, their doctors failed to tell them the bad news more than 7% of the time, and in practices that used a combination of paper and electronic medical records, the failure rate was as high as 26%, according to a new report. The finding is surprising, given physicians' fears of malpractice lawsuits. The cause for many was simply a lack of explicit rules for managing test results. "In most cases each physician devised his or her own method. In eight practices, patients were told that 'no news is good news.' i.e. they should assume their results were normal," researchers noted. [Read More]
Scam targets physician offices
Many providers received an alert message from CMS last week informing them that scammers are sending fake faxes and posing as a Medicare carrier or Medicare Administrative Contractor in order to obtain billing information. The faxes asked physician staff to respond to a questionnaire and provide an account information update within 48 hours in order to prevent a gap in Medicare payments. CMS informed physicians and non-physician practitioners that they should be wary of the request and check with their contractor before submitting any information. [Read More]
Editor's Note
From all of us at HealthLeaders Media, have a great Fourth of July Holiday. HealthLeaders Media PhysicianLeaders will not publish next week, but will return with a new issue July 9.
Business Rx
Physician Recruiting Strategies for Rural Areas
The inability to offer a competitive compensation package, the lack of adequate housing, and poor-quality schools are factors that often make it difficult to recruit physicians to rural communities. [Read More]
Physician News
Patients at Boston's Beth Israel to get a look at physicians' notes
Boston Globe - June 19, 2009
ED Wait Times Drop Slightly, Patient Satisfaction Rises
John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media - June 23, 2009
Primary care doctor shortage may undermine reform efforts
Washington Post - June 22, 2009
Massachusetts General Hospital cited on surgeons' overload
Boston Globe - June 22, 2009

Audio Conferences/Webcasts
July 22, 2009: Service Line Strategies Workshop 2009: Spine Care
On Demand: HIPAA Changes: New Compliance Strategies for New Marketing Models
From HealthLeaders Magazine
Bundling By Decree
HealthLeaders June 2009
Can an industry addicted to payment for procedure survive episodic care? Geisinger has. [Read More]
Service Line Management
Faster, Safer Joint Replacements
Hospitals are fine-tuning the surgical process from start to finish in order to replace joints faster and safer than ever before. [Read More]
PhysicianLeaders Forum

Bylaws Best Practices for Today: Contributor Joseph D. Cooper, MD, a senior consultant for The Greeley Company, offers advice for modernizing medical staff bylaws to improve physician-hospital collaboration. [Read More]
Audio Feature

Critical Care Delivery Made Better: Marc Zubrow, MD, director of critical care medicine at Christiana Care Health System and medical director of the Maryland eCare project, shares strategies to improve the delivery of critical care. [Listen Now]
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Resources From HealthLeaders Media

Improve patient satisfaction, CAHPS scores, and quality with the strategies and tools in Physician Entrepreneurs: The Quality Patient Experience.
Learn how to harness the power of a large organization, either by expanding the practice or partnering with hospitals, private investors, or other physician groups, with Physician Entrepreneurs: Strength in Numbers.
Read about the latest business strategies to help you grow beyond traditional practice models in Physician Entrepreneurs: Going Retail.
Start marketing your practice or refine your existing marketing program with Physician Entrepreneurs: Marketing Toolkit, a new HealthLeaders Media book that combines expert tips with marketing samples, tools, forms, and checklists that will help grow your practice.
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