Big demand for pay-for-performance knowledge

A few years ago, pay-for-performance was mostly a subject of academic papers--and a few pioneering experiments on the West Coast. But things have changed a lot since then. At this year's MGMA, not only are there cutting-edge sessions and doubtless, tons of hallway chatter and knowledge-swapping, there's even a two-day pre-show seminar focused specifically on P4P. This isn't much of a surprise given that Medicare is throwing its weight behind performance incentives, too. Still, things have changed pretty quickly.

Despite all of the noise around P4P, though, don't expect to find that your colleagues at the show are experts on the subject. It's become clear over the last year or two that meeting performance standards isn't just time-consuming, it's also expensive, as it usually takes IT upgrades and added staff. In most cases, in fact, small practices just haven't had the means to take part.

Maybe this year, the smart folks who network at the show will find some new ways to make P4P accessible to more practices. In the meantime, take any chance you get to find out what the big boys are doing. There's lots of knowledge out there that hasn't been codified into standard P4P techniques, so soak it up while you can.