Practice Management Digest – April 2023

March 30, 2023

Practice Management Digest: News from April 2023.

How Doctors Differ by Generation
By Michael Sopher 

In health care today, it’s not uncommon to find four generations working together. Baby Boomers and even some pre-Boomers occupy many of the leadership positions in hospitals and medical practices, but are rapidly reaching retirement age.

Many Generation X physicians are moving into leadership roles, but shun the “workaholic” tendencies of older doctors in favor of the work-life balance prized by younger generations. And while Generation Y, also known as Millennials, often get a bad rap for not being team players, they are also the largest generation – more than 80 million strong – and the most comfortable with technology.

With a doctor shortage looming as older practitioners retire, and as competition for new employees increases, “generational differences can’t be brushed aside” any longer, states Hospitals & Health Networks (H&HN) magazine, which dedicated a bimonthly series to the issue: “Generations in the Workplace.” Doctors and health care professionals of all ages must begin to understand each other’s differences, recognize each other’s strengths, and learn to work together.

To read more, go to Rendia

How far is too far for AI in healthcare?
By Giles Bruce / March 16, 2023

As artificial intelligence begins to proliferate in healthcare, health system digital leaders told Becker’s it will only ever be able to do so much.

“There is a humanity to healthcare that zeros and ones can never replace,” said Jeffrey Ferranti, MD, senior vice president and chief digital officer of Durham, N.C.-based Duke Health. “AI can look at pixels in an X-ray.

AI can categorize patients by risk. AI can even help doctors become better doctors. But computers cannot comfort families, personalize care decisions, or remind patients that nothing is black or white and hope is the most powerful medicine.”

As AI chatbots like ChatGPT have started giving medical advice and health systems employ machine learning and big data to improve their patient populations, a majority of Americans say they’re uncomfortable with AI being used in their medical care. So how far is too far?

To read more, go to Becker’s Hospital Review

Doctors Are Losing Their Calling
By Michael P.H. Stanley
March 22, 2023 6:56 pm ET

Physician-trainees at Mass General Brigham are attempting to unionize. If they succeed, the union would be the largest of its kind in the country with more than 2,500 members, joining the estimated 15% of U.S. medical trainees who’ve assembled under the Committee of Interns and Residents in recent years.

At the center of the doctors’ unionization efforts is a desire to reclaim their identity as service-driven providers and to fight for the autonomy and fair working conditions that they’ve lost as their profession becomes more commercialized and centralized.

Doctors are proud of their occupation’s mixture of sacrament and science in service to society. Urbanely trained at universities, these learned professionals once left the city to settle into solo practices or small partnerships in the towns they served.

This autonomy allowed them to charge patients what they could afford—some more, some less and some not at all. Meanwhile, their authority allowed them to advocate effectively on behalf of their patients, even on nonmedical matters. Their familiarity with their neighbor-patients encouraged participation in the community, both economically and socially.

To read more, go to Wall Street Journal

Dreaded Medical Paperwork Required by Health Insurers to Be Trimmed
UnitedHealthcare, Cigna and Aetna move to revamp prior-authorization programs

By Anna Wilde Mathews and Stephanie Armour
Updated March 29, 2023 4:11 pm ET

UnitedHealthcare said it would remove many procedures and medical devices from its list of services requiring prior authorization.

The paperwork required by health insurers to get many medical procedures or tests—one of the biggest gripes of doctors and patients—is getting rolled back.

UnitedHealth Group Inc.’s UnitedHealthcare, the largest health insurer in the U.S., said it would cut its use of the prior authorization process. Starting in the third quarter, it will remove many procedures and medical devices from its list of services requiring the signoff.

The insurer also said it would eliminate, starting next year, manyprior-authorization requirements for so-called gold-card doctors and hospitals whose requests it nearly always approves. And it aims to automate and speed up prior authorization, though that will likely take a few years.

“We’re not deaf to the complaints out there,” said Philip Kaufman, chief growth officer at UnitedHealthcare. “We’ve taken a hard look at ourselves and this process.” 

The company is expected to announce the changes on Wednesday. The steps are a sign that the health-insurance industry is rethinkingprior authorization,which has long been a source of frustration among doctors and patients who have said it creates administrative headaches and sometimes delays or blocks access to needed care. 

To read more, go to Wall Street Journal

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