5 Advantages of Practice Aggregation
Joe Nicholson, DO – Chief Medical Officer
Sustaining an independent practice might seem like a pipe dream to some physicians these days—but it is not. Aggregating with other like-minded practices enables providers to stay independent while at the same time reaping key financial and patient experience benefits.
Here are five reasons why practice leaders should consider joining forces with other primary care and specialty practices:
- Shared technology costs. In the transition to value-based care, data is king because it can provide context for providers. In other words, data should help identify not only which patients need specific interventions, but why.
It is essential to invest in population health technologies capable of analyzing data from multiple sources across the entire health care ecosystem. By working with other practices and partners such as CareAllies, practices can benefit from a collective infrastructure that allows them to keep their existing EHR technology while harnessing the power of aggregated data through a shared technology overlay.
- Stronger negotiating power with vendors (including insurers). There is power in numbers when it comes to payer and vendor contracts. That fact probably goes without saying, but what many practices do not realize is that aggregation offers a way to obtain that power without sacrificing practice independence.
- Ability to successfully adopt new payment models. Simply put, more providers mean a larger patient population across which to spread risk. Indeed, practices that wish to participate in shared savings models or full risk capitation models will likely need to aggregate with other practices in an independent physician association (IPA), accountable care organization (ACO) or clinically integrated network (CIN). That way, they have a large enough patient panel to lend stability to the quality measures being tracked. When managed effectively and collaboratively, such value-based payment models can generate better health outcomes for patients and better business results for practices.
- Enhanced patient experience from a deeper provider network. Few things frustrate patients more than when they realize their providers and/or payers lack information transparency. Patients want easy access to care in the same way they get easy access to movies from Netflix. Practices that work side-by-side with other providers—as well as payers—can go a long way toward keeping patients happy and improving their overall experience by continuing to advance health care simplicity, affordability and predictability.
- Combined experience and learnings. Whether organized as an IPA, ACO or CIN, every practice brings its own valuable perspectives and experiences to the partnership. Each comes with different needs and resources as well. Practices that are encouraged to meet each other wherever they are and share best practices have the largest potential to grow—and to improve health care—together.
Practices that work collaboratively are uniquely positioned to ensure that the health care “whole” becomes even greater than the sum of its parts. As care models continue to evolve, practices can remain independent while moving along the value-based continuum and raising care quality for the patients they serve.