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In the Interim: How Rate Hikes, Insurance Policy, the Physician Shortage, and Technology Advances Affect Healthcare in 2022

“In the Interim” is a snapshot of the latest and most relevant news in the locum tenens industry. No repeats, less scrolling, more knowledge. Check out the articles we found most interesting for January’s roundup.

Locum Tenens Physician News: January 2022

1. Locum Tenens Execs Ask: Why the Malpractice Insurance Rate Hikes for 2022? (Part 1 of 2)

Even in the pre-pandemic year 2019, malpractice insurance rates were climbing. And since professional liability insurance has skyrocketed, healthcare costs are following suit. COVID-19 has only escalated an upward trend. This well-cited article walks us through the soft market bottoming out and med mal’s subsequent claim and loss rate evolution.

Although it was published last month, its relevance to 2022 made this article the perfect contender for our first roundup of the new year!

(Locumpedia, December 9, 2021)

2. AHA Asks UnitedHealthcare to Rescind Revised Policy on Emergency Coverage

As of January 1, UHC started reviewing and evaluating all emergency service claims. If they deem emergency-level care unnecessary, then they can deny the patient’s claim. The new regulation is under scrutiny, and the American Hospital Association is calling to repeal the policy.

At its core, this policy means either patients shoulder the cost of their visit without help from their insurance, or the emergency department absorbs the lost reimbursement. The AHA fears that the fallout will include patients neglecting necessary emergency treatment and a heavier administrative burden on an already overtaxed health system.

(Healthcare Finance, January 3, 2022)

3. Disruptive Technologies that Will Remove Disruptions from Our Healthcare Experiences

As technology advances, it is improving access to health data. And after the imminent need for telehealth solutions in 2020, evolution is occurring faster than ever before.

With electronic health records at the epicenter, smart technology in the hospital room; Bluetooth-enabled monitoring devices; smart phone data tracking; and wearables, physicians can simultaneously create a better patient experience and gain deeper insights into their health.

(Becker’s Hospital Review, January 4, 2022)

4. With Appointments Scarce, More Patients Turning to DIY Healthcare

As the healthcare system continues to feel pressure from COVID-19 and the physician shortage, patients have begun to take matters into their own hands. Home testing kits and health monitoring apps have soared in popularity; patients are tracking their own blood sugar, cholesterol, and some are even performing electrocardiograms.

Although physicians applaud patients for taking initiative and being their own health advocates, there is a risk of missing larger problems and accurately interpreting the data from their devices.

(Becker’s Hospital Review, January 11, 2022)

5. Clinicians Have Spent Even More Time in the EHR During COVID-19 – Is Telehealth to Blame?

Telemedicine led to increased patient portal adoption – simultaneously increasing patients’ ability and willingness to message their clinicians. Physician burnout already peaked due to the pandemic, and now there is a surge in demand for their time regarding one-on-one EHR communication.

This influx of messages adds strain to physicians’ already limited bandwidth; complicates future reimbursement models and workflows; and contributes to EHR fatigue.

(Healthcare IT News, January 12, 2022)

6. Target These Opportunities to Tackle Physician Burnout in 2022

As more and more people across the country resign, Dr. Sinsky addresses the “great resignation” in healthcare.

To assuage burnout, The American Medical Association (AMA) developed a series of free, online toolkits created by physicians for physicians. Each of these resources are meant to reinvigorate and inject meaning back into medicine. STEPS Forward™ includes 70 different series on topics from practice efficiency to teambuilding and leadership development.

(American Medical Association, January 13, 2022)

7. What Doctors Wish Patients Knew About the COVID-19 Omicron Variant

With all the misinformation circulating throughout the pandemic, the AMA created a unique series titled What Doctors Wish Patients Knew™ to provide physicians with an outlet to communicate medically accurate information regarding healthcare headlines.

Stephen Parodi, MD, an infectious disease physician, discusses what patients really need to know about the COVID-19 Omicron Variant.

(American Medical Association, January 14, 2022)

8. Why Patient Matching is so Important to Outcomes, Cost – and Pandemic Response

Patient records are a point of contention for many healthcare organizations. Failure to link records is costly to both physicians and their patients. As testing and vaccination centers popped up throughout the pandemic, matching patient records has become even more complicated.

Clay Ritchey, CEO of Verato, a vendor of patient-matching technology, discusses how patient matching technology helps healthcare providers improve delivery of care and overcome the clinical and financial challenges of synching patient records.

(Healthcare IT News, January 28, 2022)

That’s it for this month’s edition of In the Interim. Stay tuned for next month’s roundup of newsworthy articles for locum tenens providers. To stay in the loop on future news, follow us on LinkedIn and sign up for our monthly email newsletter for monthly news and job search tips.