At med-certification.com, we have recently analyzed the many challenges in providing and getting paid for medical care. With our 30 years of training for medical jobs (billing, coding, transcription, office management), we are always on the lookout for trends that would impact the labor requirements in hospitals and doctors’ offices. Here’s how we see it.
It is interesting to contemplate where the provision of medical care is headed. With the mandates for a sort of national health insurance process, the demand for medical care will increase substantially since those who could not afford to go to a doctor will more than likely participate if they have insurance (with the restrictions of course of high deductibles). Along with those facts are the aging of America with its increase in demand for more and more medical care as the population ages.
With the enormous changes in the technical aspects of billing and reimbursement (the mandates for electronic record transmission and the protocols for privacy as well as the anticipated dramatic changes in the former diagnostic coding system ICD-9 to ICD-10, providers are already feeling the impact on time and the economics of practicing medicine. The question becomes one of pure economics so those interested in pursuing a career as a doctor may be asking if it is really worth it. Here’s a quote from Dr. Eric Topol discussing his book on the Ã¬Creative Destruction of Medicine.
“Hello. I’m Dr. Eric Topol, Director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute and Editor-in-Chief of Medscape Genomic Medicine and theheart.org. In this series, The Creative Destruction of Medicine, named for the book I wrote, I am trying to zoom in on critical aspects of how the digital world can create better healthcare.
Why do we need hospitals in the future? Why do we need to have office visits with physicians in the future? That’s really what this segment is about because we know that hospitals are a dangerous place. We know that they are also very expensive. But what’s interesting is that the only reason we would need a hospital in the future is for intensive care units, for someone who is critically ill, for procedures or operations in surgical suites. But why else would anyone want to go to a hospital? We have the technology today to do all the remote monitoring exquisitely and comprehensively at a person’s home, which is, of course, a lot more comfortable, a lot less expensive. Why wouldn’t we use that instead of putting somebody in a regular hospital room? If we have the proper remote monitoring — continuous monitoring if need be — this would preempt the need for going into a hospital unless someone is critically ill.
Let’s also look at the physician office visit. The average office visit in the United States is somewhere between 7 and 12 minutes, and the average waiting time is about an hour. This is a very inefficient system. Of course, a lot of patients complain that in those 7-12 minutes, the doctor is just pecking away at the keyboard; he doesn’t even look at them. So, it’s a very unsatisfying, unfulfilling type of experience. What if you have — and this has already been piloted by some programs throughout the country — a digital connection with a secure video chat where you are actually having eye contact with the physician throughout the visit, and the visit could even be longer because it’s a much more efficient use of both the patient’s time and the doctor’s time? Yes, you could still have a face-to-face physical visit as need be, but a lot of these visits could be virtual visits in the future.
This could be a very efficient use of time from the doctor’s standpoint: All the vital signs could be transmitted in real time; all the data that could be archived on a smartphone could be transmitted either before the visit or during the visit. Much of the remote technology can be done during the physical exam right in the midst of that 10- or 15-minute encounter. It will be really interesting to see what the role of digital medicine is going to be in the future for both hospitals and physical office visits.”
It will be interesting to see where the path we are on leads. Swept on the tides of technology and sheer volume of patient interactivity and documentation, not to mention getting paid for the care, what new and innovative careers will develop. Stay tuned to www.med-certification.com. For training and certification, come visit our website.