Dr. Sara Pastoor on how medical practices can prepare for the post-COVID boom

Elation’s own Director of Primary Care Advancement, Dr. Sara Pastoor, recently shared her tips on how independent practices gear up for the current phase of the pandemic, scaling up to deliver more care without burning out, while making the most of this opportunity to improve hard-hit finances. 

As Dr. Pastoor shared in Healthcare News, medical practices across California have been dealing with the surge of catch-up care with their patients. According to a recent Kaiser Family Foundation survey, “27% of those who say they or a family member skipped or postponed care say that either they or their family member experienced a worsening medical condition as a result,” such as mental health conditions or kidney problems.

Dr. Pastoor along with Adam Harrison, the chief growth officer at Manifest MedEx, California’s largest nonprofit health information network, shared the following tips for physicians treating patients that are coming back with potentially more severe clinical needs and need to catch up on missed preventive care:

  • Get proactive before patient visits: Pre-visit planning can save time for your practice and give you a heads up on the care your patients need. Longitudinal patient records from a health information exchange (HIE) and your electronic health record (EHR) system can help support pre-visit chart reviews. 
  • Pay special attention to your COVID cases: Using your EHR and HIE data, you can catch up on recovering COVID-19 patients with a few clicks and invite these patients in for special follow-up care, prepare staff before their visits, or run campaigns to encourage them to receive a first or second vaccine dose.
  • Understand which of your patients are at the highest risk this year: Medical leaders are predicting a surge in disease rates in the coming years due to the lifestyle changes forced upon the world by the pandemic. Reviewing your patient panel can help you see which patients should be prioritized for extra attention as your practice scales up for post-COVID demand.
  • Get rewarded for smart prioritizing: Several programs reward medical practices for using HIE data to provide needed care to patients including Medicare’s Transitional Care Management program. At the same time, practices also get 40 points added to their Medicare MIPS scores for bidirectional exchange with an HIE.

Over a year since the pandemic first started we’re only now starting to see more clearly the lasting impact of both the COVID-19 virus and the pandemic-related gaps in medical care. As the authors write: “In every medical practice, this is a moment for rethinking and reimagining the way we build back better for our communities.”

Click here to learn more about how Elation supports independent practices dealing with the pandemic.