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Primary Care EHR: Finding the Right Tools for an Independent Primary Care Physician

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This is a three-part series on the critical components you must address to maintain a thriving independent practice. Part 1 explains how you must embrace your patients, and part 3 reviews alternative payment models.

Run a thriving primary care practice.

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Independent primary care physicians across the US are thriving, despite what media outlets claim. How is this possible when it seems like every day you hear of another independent doctor getting gobbled up by a larger practice? Thriving practices are using newly architected models that focus on optimizing practice processes to provide better patient care more sustainably. Specifically, practices are using new tools in order to reduce administrative burden so they can focus on patients.

Embrace Updated Technology

The promise of technology changing practices instead of becoming another burden has been heard in medicine many times before. But in reality, you and your colleagues are unlikely to flourish without adopting effective tools that automate and streamline practice management. Reporting and administrative requirements have increased, and unless you’re running a truly cash-only practice, they’re bound to increase even more.

There are only three ways to handle this administrative burden:

  • Staff up
  • Do it yourself
  • Automate and delegate to third parties

The only sustainable approach is the third. In today’s economy, if something can be automated, it will be. And those who stubbornly stick to old methods will find themselves uncompetitive.

  • Every staff member on the payroll drives up your fixed costs, as well as the number of patients you have to see every week just to break even. In an independent practice, you have only so much control over your revenue numbers. Take control of your fixed expenses.
  • Doing it yourself may seem like a good idea for a while, but this is exactly the kind of repetitive work that results in burnout, broken marriages, and physician despair.

You’ve probably been burned before by failed expectations around EHRs, practice management software, and billing…but the reality is that you will need to try again.

Find the Right Primary Care EHR

If you adopted an EHR or billing software during the gold rush and find yourself still struggling with it on a weekly or daily basis, it’s time to dump it. You and your staff spend your entire day working within your EHR. You should love it, not loathe it or merely tolerate it.

It’s easy to get lost in feature comparison charts, but checklists don’t capture the day-to-day reality of using a given piece of software.

Fortunately, evaluating your current clinical software is surprisingly simple. Does it do everything that you need it to do, and do you and your staff enjoy using it?

If the answer is “no,” then get rid of it.

The days of hating EHRs are over. There’s good, affordable software that will enhance and support your clinical practice.

You wouldn’t tolerate a stethoscope that barely functions, needs constant maintenance, and looks hideous. Don’t put up with it from your software.

See what a thoughtfully crafted EHR looks like.

Technology Is Just One Part of the Puzzle

Of course, the right primary care EHR is just one part of the puzzle to running a thriving independent practice. The right platform will help you optimize across your practice so you can remain financially sustainable while giving patients the time they deserve.

Want to learn about all the components of running a strong independent primary care practice?

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