Primary care physicians should demand better technology for patient care

Primary care physicians should demand better technology for patient care

  • Technology
  • May 26, 2022
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  • 4 minutes read


Primary care physicians should demand technology that serves as a benefit, not a barrier, to patient care, said the leader of a leading electronic health record (EHR) company.

Kyna Fong, PhD, co-founder and CEO of ElationHealth, spoke about technology, billing, and healthcare in her keynote address at PC22. Primary Care for America, a collaboration dedicated to promoting and maintaining primary care, held the two-day, face-to-face, online conference on May 25 and 26.

ElationHealth’s EHR services now serve about 23,000 physicians with more than 10 million patients nationwide. The company is a founding partner of Primary Care for America.

“The topic I was going to focus on is, where are we going from here? And what is the future of primary care? ” said Fong. “And not because it’s not overly dramatic, but I think we have a lifelong opportunity here, at least for the rest of our lives, to really take primary care to the next level and have a sustainable healthcare system that really based on sustainable primary care ”.

Fong explained to the presenters and said that the audience heard loud and clear that the incentive system is broken for medicine in general. For primary care physicians, pay-per-service payments have resulted in the stereotype of a doctor with one hand on the doorknob throughout the visit because they only have a few minutes to spend with a patient, he said. .

This has inspired doctors trying to succeed in value-based care arrangements, Fong said. But value-based care has a “belly-on” challenge: administrative burden and overhead.

Larger healthcare organizations can hire staff and equipment to do the necessary documentation, coding, and additional office work. This becomes a challenge for smaller practices, especially when part of the job doesn’t seem fully aligned with the care and stress for the doctors out there, Fong said.

In health care, technology is often talked about “as a barrier, as a limitation, as a frictional creation,” when doctors should help, Fong said.

“And this is a great opportunity,” he said. “We should have technology … that allows us to really achieve our goals, reduce repetitive work, and allow high-quality talent to focus on what they do best.”

EHRs run like clinical systems and have clinical modules, but they were really built around administrative and billing needs. Now, software companies have built their business models around it, Fong said.

EHRs then become a “huge barrier” to moving away from the payment of the service fee and to a value-based system because if technology “just fights you every step of the way,” doctors lose cost savings and efficiency, Fong said.

Along with technology, Fong cited examples of panelists on pay-per-service payments and the reinvention of the primary care workforce through education, a cycle that will take time to break.

Fong spoke about his family’s experience with the complexities of medical payment. He said his father was an “extremely passionate” primary care physician who moved his family to the United States because he could not practice the personalized medicine he wanted to do in Canada.

“In conclusion, I think the future of primary care is incredibly bright,” Fong said. “I’m incredibly optimistic about it. And this last day and a half has only added fuel to that. he really wants to see primary care thrive. “



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