Key Takeaways from the 2019 AMGA Annual Conference
April 4, 2019
Last week we attended the American Medical Group Association’s (AMGA) Annual Conference in Washington, D.C., and had the opportunity to discuss with pre-eminent medical group leaders what they believe to be the top challenges and opportunities for the year ahead.
From all of our conversations and sessions, one theme seemed to stand out the most: patient access.
The concept of access certainly isn’t a new one, but it is no doubt trending upwards as a main problem area for healthcare organizations of all sizes.
Patient Access Everywhere!
To many healthcare leaders, patient access means improving the scheduling process—making it easier for patients to access care services at your organization, allowing them to book an appointment at their own convenience. The Iowa Clinic hosted an engaging session on their success with their patient self-scheduling vendor (hey, that’s us!) and discussed many of these issues. If you missed the session and want to learn more, you can read about their work with us here. As consumerism continues to gain traction in the industry, the definition of patient access is continuing to grow. It includes ways to improve the registration process, including insurance verification, eligibility, payment estimates, authorizations, and much more.
Call Center -> Access Center
We also learned that several organizations are making patient access a priority in new, innovative ways. Some are rebranding their call centers to be ‘patient access centers,’ while others are creating entirely new positions, like the director of network access, dedicated solely to improving patient access.
Referral Coordination and Managing Risk
A lot of sessions focused on referrals, care coordination, and population health management; leaders want to understand which populations have the most risk and learn how to better manage those patients. Gaining those insights is only the first step, though. Patients are still required to schedule follow up care, and without quick and convenient access to care, the chances of them doing so are greatly reduced. Put bluntly, there are a lot of ways where care referrals go wrong. Organizations are still faced with care gaps, readmissions, and the ongoing process of tackling chronic care management.
It’s clear that patient access is a hot topic for all and will only continue to be in the years to come. One thing is for certain: the next generation of healthcare users, with today’s technology at their fingertips, will not continue to accept our healthcare system the way it currently functions. Thankfully, leadership among America’s top medical groups are addressing these issues head on and a better tomorrow is on the horizon.