5 concerns for physicians and patients in 2015

Boston-based Physicians Foundation released its 2014 Watch List of five issues projected to impact physicians and patients next year, based on its Biennial Physician Survey.

The foundation identified the following concerns:

  1. Pace of consolidation. The Physicians Foundation projected an accelerating rate of consolidation in the coming year, putting increasing pressure on independent practices to join larger systems. Almost 70 percent of physicians in the Biennial Survey reported concerns that consolidation will affect their clinical autonomy and ability to make decisions.      
  2. Administrative burden on patient-physician relationships. The majority of physicians value relationships with patients most in medicine, according to the survey. However, increased levels of paperwork and administrative duties from value-based care shifts and consolidation mean physicians must maximize face time with patients, according to the Physicians Foundation.
  3. Impact of ICD-10 preparations. Even though ICD-10 will not be implemented until October 1, 2015, providers must allocate time and resources to prepare for the changes. Half of physicians reported ICD-10 will severely disrupt administration processes and three-quarters of physicians predicted the revisions will complicate coding in their practice, according to the survey.
  4. Cost transparency. The lack of transparency and consistency in medical billing practices causes frustration for patients and complicates decision making for physicians. In the coming year, providers, payers and policy makers must strive to improve transparency.
  5. Physician shortage. Millions of Americans are receiving coverage under PPACA, yet 44 percent of physicians surveyed indicated plans to reduce access to care for patients. These plans included retiring, cutting down office hours and decreasing the number of patients seen. The Physicians Foundation projects a loss of tens of thousands of full-time equivalent providers over the next few years.


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