Physician practice satisfaction is an often overlooked metric when it comes to understanding how well a health plan is performing. Often, health plans skip over physician practices and instead focus on metrics such as profitability and satisfaction of members.
This is a mistake. To provide members with high-quality care, health plans should focus on satisfying physician practices, and help them have an easier time providing care.
Physician dissatisfaction has a negative impact on quality of care
Dissatisfied physicians do not provide proper care. That’s a fact, according to the NCBI. Their study found that doctors who self-rated themselves as extremely satisfied with their work had higher overall scores for patient outcomes, care, and patient satisfaction.
A Rand Medical survey found similar results. When physicians were satisfied with their job, patient outcomes improved.
How to improve physician satisfaction: The two most effective strategies
Physician satisfaction is not a single-faceted issue. Increasing physician satisfaction across the board will require cooperation between health plans, governments, legislators, and hospitals, among others. However, two key strategies can be implemented by health plans to improve physician satisfaction.
Allow physicians to have a sense of influence
Physician satisfaction is closely tied to their ability to deliver high-quality care to their patients. Doctors who feel that they can provide adequate care to a realistic number of patients are more satisfied, and physicians who are overworked or overburdened by administrative tasks report much lower rates of satisfaction.
Physicians should have a sense of influence when it comes to these issues – they should be able to communicate to health plan providers about their needs, and their current workload. One of the most important factors to the influence of a physician is their ability to interact effectively with both private and public payers.
Health plan providers offering easier administration, standardized payment methodologies, more simplistic reporting procedures, and standardized formulary processes can have a massive positive effect on physician practices, leading to better patient outcomes and lower costs, as well as higher efficiency.
Provide better financial stability with consistent, immediate payments
Income stability can be a huge issue for physician practices. It’s hard for a doctor to concentrate on providing great care if they are worried about balancing their cash flow because of a late check from a health plan provider or another financial issues.
Paper checks are still quite commonplace among health plan providers, and the related administrative and processing costs can be extremely expensive and time-consuming. This financial instability can be detrimental to a physician practice, and lead to poor patient outcomes due to lower physician practice satisfaction rates.
Health plan providers can help solve this issue by relying on efficient payment methods like Deluxe eChecks. Using Deluxe eChecks allows for simultaneous delivery of checks and EOP/ANSI 835 increasing the speed of reconciling payments and improves the satisfaction rates.
Introducing a new payment method that reduces financial instability and improves overall cash flow so physician practices can think less about money – and more about providing efficient, high-quality care to health plan members.
Put the patient first – by putting physician practices first
Because patient outcomes are tied so closely to overall physician satisfaction, increasing physician practice satisfaction can enhance the patient-physician bond. Happy, satisfied physicians lead to happy, satisfied patients with enhanced outcomes.
Health plan providers who are serious about increasing patient satisfaction and the results should not just focus on the needs of individual members but also on health care providers such as physician practices.
After all, physician professionalism is reliant on putting the patient first, and it’s difficult for a doctor to do so if he or she is overburdened in paperwork, distracted by administrative tasks, or worrying about late payments from health plan providers.
Overall, focus on physicians and satisfaction rates. If the physicians are happy, then their patients are happy. Talk about a win-win!