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Why are Multi-Specialty Clinics Becoming so Popular?

Why are Multi-Specialty Clinics Becoming so Popular?
11 October 2019

We like things being easy and convenient. Is that a false statement? I don’t think so. We all would like to get to our #fitnessgoals immediately, rather than spending months dieting and exercising. We all would like to make money without having to work as hard. We, as a species, are looking to get the most amount of comfort, while putting in the least amount of work. So why wouldn’t this mindset extend towards taking care of our health? 

Most of you can relate to this scenario:

  1. You go to your primary care physician because of some health issue. They tell you that this or that seems off and they need you to get a test. This test can only be done by a specialist.
  2. Now you have to make an appointment with the specialist, for which you probably have to take another day off from work, have the expensive test done and then wait for the results to be transferred back to your primary care physician. 
  3. Then, you have to go see your primary care physician again, to find out the results of your test. If you’re lucky, it’s most likely nothing. If not, then it’s back to the specialist. 

Doesn’t that sound tiresome? 

What if you could have met with your primary care physician, consulted with the specialist, had your tests done and, due to the specialist and the primary care physician communicating quickly, found out what your health issue was and gotten treatment immediately, or even all in one day? 

That would be great! And, this type of care provision is available! If you Google “multi specialty care centers”, you will most likely find a decent number of them near you. If you Google it in six months, you’ll find even more. Why is that? Why are physicians flocking towards this type of integrated care model of practice?

Well, it’s simple. As Physicians Practice writer Susan Madden said, “practices are able to retain their autonomy while achieving efficiencies of scale that help to decrease costs. For example, several of our clients’ medical malpractice insurance rates went down because there are more physicians to dilute risk, employee payroll costs and healthcare benefits become cheaper, and practices are able to secure better prices from suppliers.”((“What are the benefits for Doctors of joining a Group Medical Practice?.” Accessed 27 Aug. 2019.))

That’s already a lot of incentives, but depending on the practice, there are even more benefits. For instance, psychiatrists and therapists tend to stay away from using EHR systems, hiring administrative staff and accepting insurance. This has, in turn, led to them not being able to provide care to as many people, or gain as much revenue, as they potentially could. For them, joining a multi-specialty practice would be a game changer. 

[Read: Benefits of an Integrated EHR and Medical Billing System]

Due to the combined revenue and the reduced expenditure due to the practice structure, hiring administrative staff is not a concern anymore. Thanks to having administrative staff, they can also start accepting insurance, since they themselves would not have to spend additional time filing claims. Most importantly, they can start using EHRs, which would make it easier for them to: 

  1. Schedule patients
  2. Prescribe and keep track of medication, dosage, allergies, medication interactions
  3. Accept and file insurance
  4. Save patient data securely

The question then becomes, how is this EHR meeting all the demands of the mental health provider, while meeting all the demands of the other providers? There’s the first option, which is that there is an off-the-shelf, all in one EHR system in place. But that would actually cause a reduction in production, since the providers and administrative staff would need to wade through the vast sea of workflows and functionalities input into the system.

Well, that’s where an integrated care EHR system comes in. What’s an integrated care EHR system? Well, think of it like this: regular, off-the-shelf EHR systems are McDonald’s. Widely used, inexpensive to acquire and meets your immediate requirement. But, it’s going to cost you later and it’s not good for you. Integrated care EHR systems are like Chipotle. You and whoever is with you can get what you want, from a variety of choices, customize it to your needs and do all of this under one roof, for an affordable cost. Basically, it’s an all-in-one EHR. It’s comprehensive. 

In an integrated care EHR, you have a variety of options, but what you get is what you chose. So, if you are a therapist and all you want is scheduling and note taking, your EHR system is modified to only have those. At the same time, if someone else in your practice, like a primary care physician, needs to have scheduling, note taking, medication prescribing and more, their EHR system is modified to meet those requirements. 

So, with an integrated care EHR system, the care provider gets all the benefits they would have from having a tailor made EHR system, while also being part of a multi-speciality clinic and getting the benefits from that. 

So, what are the negatives of this sort of integrated care EHR system implemented multi specialty care clinics? Nothing so far. Patients get quicker and better care, while saving money and thanks to the care being under one roof and one system, they would also have a Unified Patient Record(UPR), which will be useful in the future(can’t find the link to the blog). Physicians get access to better technology that will help them provide better treatment to more people, while also increasing revenue and decreasing costs. 

Integrated care EHR systems and multi specialty clinics are the next big thing in healthcare. In fact, integrated care EHR systems is one of the eight key healthcare trends reported by the National Institutes of Health. (( Vogenberg, F. Randy, and John Santilli. “Healthcare Trends for 2018.” American Health & Drug Benefits. Accessed March 16, 2019 ))

So, why is multi-specialty clinics becoming so popular? Scroll up.