I must admit that I don’t post that often about healthcare reform and the changing doctors practice. Not to mention things like the Accountable Care Organizations (ACO) and other trends in healthcare. Although, I do watch them peripherally and in many cases these changes are important in relation to EMR since they impact what the future of EMR might look like.
So, I was pretty interested in a post by Barbara Duck about the impact of Healthcare Reform on medicine as we know it today. Barbara has a quote which describes the change:
“Healthcare reform will usher in a new era of medicine in which physicians will largely cease to operate as full-time, independent, private practitioners accepting third party payments.”
Then, she quotes a study which describes how medicine will change and the four possible courses that physicians will take amidst all this change.
• Work as employees of increasingly larger medical groups or hospital systems
• Establish cash-only practices that eliminate third party payers
• Reduce their clinical roles by working part-time
• Opt out of medicine altogether by accepting non-clinical positions or by retiring.
This information isn’t all that new. I also have read many people who just see this as the same cycle that we’ve seen before. I think that’s probably true, but it’s still a cycle that should be considered going forward.
Assuming the above assumptions are correct, does that spell the end of the small practice EMR software? Essentially it would leave only EMR software that supports larger medical groups or hospital systems and EMR software that handles cash only practices (something every EMR vendor would probably love to do).
Personally I don’t see it as the end of small practice EMR software. Although, it definitely will see a shrinking of the market for that software. At least temporarily.