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Ambulatory Care Services – Improving Physician’s EHR Efficiency

Jun 18, 2021

In the pandemic-stricken world, hospital capacity and services have been taxed considerably, with inpatient areas at or near full occupancy. This augmented pressure has emphasized the crucial role that ambulatory services can play in the healthcare paradigm.

Ambulatory care refers to medical services administered on an outpatient basis, without admittance to a hospital or other medical facility. It is usually provided in frameworks such as offices of health care professionals and hospital outpatient departments.

Ambulatory Systems

The global market for ambulatory EHR commodities represents the largest segment of the overall EHR market. Given the heavy size and possibility proffered by this market, ambulatory practices searching for EHR solutions do not go wanting for options.

Acknowledging the challenges clinical care teams may face when contemplating an ambulatory EHR, it is vital to recognize the similarities and differences between inpatient and ambulatory EHRs, and know some features available in such systems.

1. Innovative Technology

Advancements in clinical approaches and techniques, including new expansions in minimally invasive surgical procedures, have facilitated numerous systems to migrate into the ambulatory environment.

2. Consumer Market

There has been a marked rise in out-of-hospital medical care, with customers who are increasingly inclined towards lower expenses, increased access and better experiences. Consumers are meticulously cost-conscious now, with the rise of affordable health plans and systems. Though the out-of-pocket savings fluctuate by plan and procedure, there are consistently lower costs at such sites—presenting incentives for patients to displace their care site.

3. Payer Pressure

Providers and payers are finding affordable care sites with the increase of value-based care. These shifting reasons are further augmented by regulatory changes, including reimbursement for knee replacements and hip procedures in the ambulatory setting, as well as telemedicine. This incentive composition has shifted due to the pandemic, with payment incentives becoming increasingly value-based.

4. Provider Opportunity

The shift to outpatient care has facilitated the rise of shared ownership models being economically aligned. Being equity owners in ambulatory sites, medical specialists have both an incentive and opportunity to redirect their patients to outpatient care.  In addition, as COVID-19 proceeds to put pressure on care sites, physicians are more likely to refer their cases to non-hospital areas for procedures and surgeries.

The Functionality of Ambulatory Systems
1. Cloud Deployment

Cloud-based mobile solutions for on-demand data have been the highest priority for providers. Given the requirement for clinicians to be able to locate clinical data from several obscure locations, cloud-based solutions offer an efficient way to address these practices data portability necessities.

2. Telehealth Support

Under the aegis of Ambulatory systems, telehealth technology offers clinicians the ability to administer care to hard-to-reach patient groups. For practices that assist chronically ill or disabled patients who are unable to commute to a clinic to receive services, such faculties remain prominent in care systems.

3. Speech Recognition

Ambulatory services have often been hindered by clinical ability to input data in a quick and streamlined manner. With descriptions of clinicians falling victim to backlogs of clinical data that must be entered the EHR, speech recognition can facilitate data entry and produce workflows more efficient, particularly in hectic clinics.

Advantages of Ambulatory Care
1. Savings from transferring procedures

Health practices can profit financially from building out their ambulatory presence in targeted service lines. Beneath value-based contracts such as capitation or global budgeting, with reimbursement connected to outcome cost and quality rather than volume, health practices will avail from changing to lower-cost sites of care, encouraging retention of savings.

2. Defend against the competition

Balancing ownership options provide defense mechanisms for health systems when ambulatory care centers are procuring market share. This strategy is significant in retaining physician loyalty to preserve higher-value inpatient cases.

3. Establish a presence in strategic markets

Ambulatory care can offer refined access for patients and physicians without the need to finance significant capital in a new acute hospital. There is usually a fee-for-service design for health systems based on payer contract reimbursement.

Surgical cases are very profitable and usually support the other units of the hospital that are not doing as well. Despite the potential revenue loss from displacing procedures to outpatient sites, Ambulatory Service Centres (ASCs) with operational control and diplomatic positioning typically experience nearly two times the profit margins, which can reinforce the bottom line for health policies.

4. Magnify physician alignment

If health systems are strategic about the areas where they partner or formulate new ambulatory sites, they can quickly become the favored locations for physicians who have to split their days between ambulatory and acute perspectives for patients with different obligations.

Conclusion

Ambulatory developments have brought about benefits for patients, physician and payer support systems. Hospitals and health systems should position themselves strategically to become a significant part of the future of healthcare.

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