Big questions face doctors at MGMA meeting

As will some of you, I'll be attending the upcoming Medical Group Management Meeting this October 19th through the 22nd in San Diego. Those who have attended the show know that it's big, busy and well-attended. I expect to learn a great deal, and along the way I'll be sharing stories with you.

At the meeting I expect to see doctors wrestling with some very significant questions, including issues which have the potential to completely transform their practice:

*  How to respond to retail clinics: Physicians have some questions to answer here. Will they compete with retail clinics? Protest? Adapt? Physicians have been trying all three, and it's hard to tell which will win.

*  Best practices for pay for performance: To date, most medical groups haven't been too thrilled with the payoff from CMS or private health plan programs, particularly given how much it costs in staff time and IT investment to do it right. But it's here to stay, so they're going to be hashing out methods for surviving the process.

*  Electronic medical record adoption: As we hear about endlessly, few practices--other than the biggies--are adopting EMRs. Other practices, especially small ones which don't use much technology, hardly want an EMR if you handed it to them wrapped in a bow. Still, they're under pressure to bring EMRs in house.

I'd argue that these issues, which have little to do with day to day practice management, will play an increasingly important role in medical group management and perhaps make coding discussions obsolete. But maybe I'm off base. What do you think? - Anne