CARY, NC (PRWEB) October 13, 2015 -- The vast majority of physicians who have adopted a federal program aimed at improving the care of Medicare patients with chronic disease say the program is succeeding. And while less than 20% of physicians are currently participating in the program, that number is projected to grow to nearly 70% by the third quarter of next year. Yet nearly 70 percent of physicians nationwide admit they do not fully understand the program – an ambitious effort by the Obama Administration to curb the cost of caring for the 34.4 million Americans with two or more chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.
Those are some of the key findings of a survey of 45,000 American primary care physicians published today by Smartlink Mobile Systems (Smartlink), an innovator in mobile patient communication and chronic care management solutions. Conducted in August, the goal of the survey was to better understand adoption trends, commonalities of successful programs, and challenges that physicians are experiencing with the Chronic Care Management (CCM) program initiated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in January.
The CCM program pays providers a monthly fee for historically unreimbursed services: non-face-to-face patient care. The program can potentially increase revenue for participating physicians by having qualified healthcare professionals spend at least 20 minutes per month monitoring patients diagnosed with two or more chronic conditions. CMS expects the program to significantly improve the quality of life for patients struggling to self-manage their chronic conditions between episodes and to reduce high hospital readmission rates.
“We started our CCM program six months ago and are very pleased with the results. We are able to provide better care to our chronically ill patients, while increasing reimbursement,” said Dr. Frank Paiano, Internal Medicine of Central Florida. “Every primary care physician should be offering this service to their patients.”
Some key takeaways from the survey data include:
- 84% of physicians participating in the CCM program believe it is having a positive impact on patient care.
- 16.89% of physicians have already launched a CCM program, and 52% plan to launch one within a year.
- Eight months into the program, physicians overwhelmingly are still lacking a full understanding of the program, with 40.33% reporting that they are aware but don’t know a lot about it and 27% reporting that they are completely unaware of the program.
- Key challenges identified, which were consistent both for physicians that have already launched and for those planning to launch, are getting patients enrolled, keeping an auditable record of time and tasks, meeting the electronic requirements, and staffing.
While there is clearly strong interest in launching a CCM program, the level of knowledge about the program is one of the most surprising conclusions from the survey. For respondents planning to launch a program, this lack of knowledge also was apparent in the responses to planning questions related to staffing, meeting the technology requirements, and managing the program.
According to the data, existing CCM programs are largely still in the process of enrolling patients, with only 24.32% reporting more than two hundred enrolled patients and more than half reporting less than fifty enrolled patients. This is not surprising given the stringent requirements for the enrollment process, which includes an AWV to be conducted at enrollment. Early adopters are also still figuring out workflow and staffing strategies to optimize the program. As a result, a majority of the existing programs are missing out on more than half of the potential billings each month.
“The results of this survey validate our strategy to enable participating physicians to meet the technology requirements for CCM and optimize workflow, and enable our service partners to accelerate adoption. This approach ensures that participating providers are not leaving money on the table every month,” said Siu Tong, CEO, Smartlink. “The opportunity to improve patient care with CCM is significant, and we are pleased to see the program gaining traction in the market.”
White Paper Available for Download
Smartlink has also published a whitepaper with a more detailed analysis of the survey results, which can be downloaded at http://ccm.smartlinkmobile.com/survey/
About Smartlink Mobile Systems
Smartlink Mobile Systems is a mobile healthcare solutions company changing the way providers and patients collaborate across the continuum of care. By delivering simple and convenient bi-directional communication, Smartlink enables patients to be more engaged in the medical services they need. For clinics, Smartlink’s unique mobile patient engagement solution improves efficiency, quality of care, patient adherence and revenue streams. For more information, visit http://www.SmartLinkMobile.com.
Ginny Mahaney, Smartlink Mobile Systems, http://www.smartlinkmobile.com/, +1 919-378-2200 Ext: 103, [email protected]