News

More practices offer patient portals, but many patients don't know about them

Although more primary care physicians have patient portal systems, many patients don't know about them, according to a survey by TechnologyAdvice. 

NPs and PAs perform office procedures beyond their medical training, study finds

Amidst the primary care physician shortage, mid-level providers like nurse practitioners (NPs) and physician assistants (PAs) perform procedures which they may not have formal training in across primary care offices around the country, a new study published in JAMA Dermatology revealed.

Customer service: Small gestures can make big impact

Often when we talk about customer service and patient satisfaction, we focus on high-level issues, such as overall politeness of staff and convenient parking. But while these elements certainly matter to patients, seemingly small gestures can also impact patients' impression of your practice.

CMS to compensate docs' care coordination for chronically ill

Amid evidence that better care-coordination means improved outcomes, and fewer mistakes and costly hospitalizations, the Obama administration issued a policy change whereby the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Sericies will pay physicians a monthly fee to coordinate care for Medicare beneficiaries with two or more chronic conditions, the New York Times reported.

Compensation plans are more complex, but straight salary still has appeal

The rise of physician employment models, alongside a growing emphasis on physician productivity and quality, heavily influence today's physician compensation formulas, but the trends vary by physician specialty and career stage, Medscape reported.

Patient-centered medical home model not one-size-fits-all

The patient-centered medical home is touted as a way to revitalize primary care in a post–Affordable Care Act world, but there isn't necessarily one best method for practices to adopt the model, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine.

Small practices keep more patients out of the hospital, study finds

The healthcare industry often considers small physician practices the underdogs when it comes to having the resources to put robust systems into place, but a new study published in Health Affairs suggests that offices with fewer doctors provide higher-quality care.

Get stronger by thinking beyond yourself

During the past week or so, many of you reading likely dumped a bucket of ice water over your head, on camera, to help raise donations and awareness about amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). And chances are actor Robin Williams' death from apparent suicide stopped you in your tracks when the news broke Monday evening.

Unclear governance, physician roles contributed to Atrius breakup

In an era of rapid physician practice consolidation driven by pressure to better coordinate care and achieve economies of scale, a well-known practice alliance in Massachusetts, Atrius Health, will soon lose two of its largest members, the Boston Globe reported.

Walmart may give PCPs a run for their money

Primary care providers have a new, unexpected competitor: Walmart.

Docs give, but don't take their own stress management advice

When it comes to stress management, many doctors talk the talk, but don't walk the walk when it comes to following their own advice.

Most docs support medical marijuana, but need training

As the legalization of medical marijuana expands, most U.S. physicians agree it has clinical benefits, but want more information on the medical science of cannabis and how it may help their patients, according to a survey of 1,544 doctors from WebMD and Medscape.

Patient photo collages fade from office scene, thanks to HIPAA

The longtime tradition of doctors' offices displaying photos of babies delivered by their physicians is going the way of cigars in the waiting room, thanks to privacy concerns related to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, according to an article from the New York Times.

CMS delays Open Payments System public launch

The public launch of a database that will disclose potential conflicts of interest among doctors is now delayed, after physician groups from around the country asked for more time to disclose relationships, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced this week.

Practices need help optimizing health IT

Primary care practices require sustained, focused efforts to effectively incorporate health IT into their work to improve care, according to a case study of practices in the Colorado Beacon Consortium published at eGEMs

Communication tip: Write before you run your mouth

Have you ever walked away from a conversation, perhaps a sticky one, and wish you'd mentioned a certain point or used a better example to explain your message? Or maybe you found yourself regretting that you couldn't swallow a statement or two.

Busy, mid-career physicians moonlight most

Roughly one-third of physicians do moonlight outside of their practices, according to Medical Economics' 2013 annual survey. Their motivations aren't necessarily just extra cash, noted an article in the magazine, but also to add variety into their work life, diversify their skills or contribute a public service.

4 ways to leverage NPs, even with narrow scope of practice

While scope of practice debates rage on, many experts agree that advanced-practice nurses are crucial to meeting current and future healthcare demands. This circumstance is especially true in Massachusetts, home to the highest number of primary care physicians per capita, as well as some of the most restrictive nurse practitioner scope of practice rules in the country, according to an article from the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.

How to make online reviews work for you

Online review sites are problematic for physicians in many ways, from providing consumers with a skewed representation of a practice to outwardly fraudulent posts. In most cases, physicians have little recourse for combating potentially damaging posts, so they must actively solicite enough positive feedback to overshadow the bad.

Most states to revert Medicaid pay to 2012 rates

In an effort to sustain healthcare availability for low-income families, six states will use their own money to extend the Medicaid pay increase to primary care physicians in 2015, Kaiser Health News reported.