Physicians find it’s easier to provide quality patient care by joining a group that includes doctors in multiple specialties.
Moving from a single-practice situation to a multi-specialty group is a growing trend in the United States. A study in 2014 by the Physicians Foundation found 53 percent of doctors said they were an employee of a medical group or hospital. These specialty groups generally have three goals in mind: minimizing hospital stays, providing continuity in patient care, and avoiding duplications of tests, procedures, or medications.
Brian Clemens, director of marketing and business development at Aegis Medical Group, says these groups came about during the Obama administration.
“Accountable care organizations, or ACOs, came out of the Affordable Care Act to help avoid duplication and billing of tests or procedures. Originally, they went to electronic records to aid in making sure there was no duplication or crossover in medications as well,” Brian says.
The idea behind ACOs is hospitals, doctors, and other health organizations band together to create a complete care package with a negotiated price, meeting all the patient’s needs. Aegis Medical Group is associated with Primary Care Alliance in Mount Dora, considered one of the fastest-growing ACOs in Florida.
“With baby boomers hitting retirement age, it is putting stress on the health-care system, and if you save Medicare and Medicaid as well as the system money, you’re helping to relieve the pressure on government programs,” Brian says.
Access to medication and treatment information through electronic medical records helps prevent mistakes when a medication dose is change or new meds are prescribed.
At the national level, the American Medical Association introduced its Integrated Health Model Initiative (IHMI) in October, according to a press release.
“It’s been said that data is the oil of this century, and so harnessing the power of health data in a way that is both efficient for the physician and improves patient care is an enormous and important challenge—one that should be led by physicians,” CEO James L. Madara said in a speech to the AMA.
Multiple groups in Central Florida share a similar philosophy. The partnership may include skilled nursing facilities, assisted-living facilities, and hospitalist groups to make things easier.
“We have primary care/family doctors, internal medicine doctors, cardiologists, pain medicine, endocrinology, infectious disease—multiple specialties under one roof so you avoid duplications,” Brian says. “It’s about comprising the care of patients but not adding to the stress of the health-care system.”