Population health model presents serious issues for private practices

Population health has emerged as a key to shaping and quantifying ongoing initiatives to increase the value of healthcare, according to an article in Medical Economics, and that's causing trouble for private practice physicians.

As the healthcare industry looks to reduce costs and improve the overall quality of patient care, population health has become an attractive way to change incentives in a way that gets doctors to balance the care they provide to individuals with the needs of the overall patient population, according to the article. David Nash, M.D., dean of Jefferson College of Population Health at Thomas Jefferson University, describes the approach as a way of countering "profligate testing and wasteful prescribing."

The changes necessary to align with a population health model present difficulties for private practitioners, according to Medical Economics. A high-touch approach to patient communication can pay dividends keeping appointments and following up, but it requires both administrative and setup costs, Lonnie Joe, M.D., told the publication.

The more details that emerge regarding the federal government's implementation of quality metrics in the Medicare Access & CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA), the more it appears the costs associated with the changes will land disproportionately on solo and small practices, as FiercePracticeManagement has previously reported.

Add those expenses to the increased administrative costs associated with tracking those metrics and it's not hard to see why Joe expects it to become more difficult to recruit younger doctors to join private practices under such a model. "They prefer to join a hospital or healthcare system that has deep pockets, all the technology they need and a good salary," he says.

To learn more:
- here's the article