Challenges Faced by Physicians in 2012: An Overview

The hurdles faced by physicians in 2012 are not just limited to core medical issues but are also spread across almost all the facets of the health care delivery system. The changing nature of medical practices, changes in Information Technology and in other departmental processes is changing the face of the healthcare industry. Here are some of the major issues and challenges faced by physicians and their staffs in the year 2012.

Physician Shortage

Physician shortage is one of the most challenging aspects of the health reforms since almost 32 million newly insured Americans would worsen the already present scarcity of physicians in the country. Moreover, since the process of implementation of EMR/EHR is time consuming, the amount of time spent with patients would increase, putting even more pressure on limited resources such as the available time and finances. Baby boomers are also playing an active role in reducing physician supply in the country as the population becomes older. Physician shortage is going to get worse in the coming years and the shortage would be about 65,000 physicians in the year 2015, according to a report released by AAMC Center for Workforce Studies. Although there are no quick-fix solutions to these problems of shortages, better management of various processes involved in the delivery of health care has the scope to bring about positive outcomes for the revenue and for the quality of the service.

IT Challenges

The most complex IT challenges faced by physicians are EMR implementation, ‘Meaningful Use’, ICD-10 transition, HIPAA compliance, maintaining IT systems, and financing the support required for management of these IT systems and functions. Health Information Exchanges also put forward significant challenges such as data management, interoperability, connectivity, and security issues. In order to carry out such new and complex tasks, physicians need skilled IT staff and professional support for better departmental processes. Finding such skilled workers is another challenge that is faced by physicians due to changes in Health IT.

Decreased Return on Investments

The healthcare reforms have changed the way in which physicians are paid and even though these changes are positive, physicians would be spending more time, effort, and finances in order to meet the reform guidelines. Increased burden and decreased returns in terms of time and effort put into the practice is a problem that would be faced by physicians and hospitals alike. Increasing amount of administrative work, complex back-office processes, and the changing attitude of insurance companies has forced many physicians to rethink their departmental outsourcing strategies since mistakes in such processes could mean huge revenue losses for physicians.

Medical Billing and Coding

Medical billing and coding has also changed dramatically after the reforms and some of the changes include migration from ICD-9 to ICD-10 codes, 5010 platform adoption, and changes in the way denial management and revenue cycle management are handled. Reforms have enacted stricter guidelines for insurance companies but the rate of denial has not changed considerably. The need for better interaction with payers is being felt due to the reforms and this has also affected revenue cycle management processes. The largest consortium of medical billers and coders at can provide solutions to various challenges ranging from Health IT solutions to better revenue cycle and denial management.