Time is money. This age-old adage has never been truer than it is today. We are so busy packing so much into our lives that we are always looking for time-saving shortcuts. We have someone else shop for our groceries, we shop online to avoid the time it takes to go to the mall and shop different stores, and we multitask everything from our exercise to our interaction with the online world. So why is it that we run to five different places when we have a medical appointment?
Okay, so maybe five is an exaggeration, but if you have a sudden medical condition, you could easily make that many stops. You might need the ER, lab work, X-rays, patient monitoring device like Simed SpO2 sensor, a primary care appointment, a prescription, physical therapy…you get the idea. The good news is that the medical profession is starting to catch up with the one-stop shopping trend.
What Kinds of Services Are We Talking About
While hospital systems have all the departments at their disposal, the humble General Practitioner finds it hard to compete, and many consumers/patients like to deal with their doctor on a more personal level. To combat these mega-systems, some doctors are now enlisting the services of companies like Insight Medical Partners to enable them to provide services like a pharmacy and durable medical equipment access for their patients. Others are installing x-ray and ultrasound equipment and contracting with labs to pick up samples and send them the results so patients don’t have to make another appointment with another provider.
Another way for doctors to provide ancillary services is to partner up with other professionals and share office expenses. Having a physical therapist in the office or a registered dietitian can be a boom to all involved. Other services to consider include chiropractic, health and wellness like exercise programs, and alternative treatments like acupressure and massage.
What Are the Benefits of This Arrangement
If this kind of medical care appeals to you, where you keep your personal relationship with your doctor and have access to other services, you are not alone. This type of practice not only saves you time and gas running from place to place, it also has other benefits.
When all the services are under one roof, your records are too. Practitioners can share data with the pharmacy and the lab results are available to whoever needs them. The physical therapist can get order right from the doctor and the doctor can monitor your progress with the therapist.
Let’s face it, working with insurance companies can be a pain in and of itself, both for you and the doctor’s office. When all the services are handled in one place, chances are all the billing will be too. This makes it easier for doctors to get reimbursed and makes your Explanation of Benefits statement reconciliation easier as well.
Increased Revenue for Doctors
With everything that goes into running an efficient medical practice as well as reduced insurance reimbursements and higher wages for staff, it’s hard for an individual practitioner to compete. By combining forces with other professionals and providing extra services, they can increase their income and continue to provide the best possible care for patients and keep their fees lower.
Sounds Like a Win-Win
It really is. Doctors are finding that providing more is costing them less and earning them more while patients are delighted to have that personal touch and the convenience of taking care of most of their medical needs in one place. While it may not work for every doctor, and no office can provide every possible service. This new approach to medical care is making fans on both sides of the stethoscope.
Patient Rights Under HIPAA
Importantly, as well as regulating what healthcare professionals can do with PHI, HIPAA also awards a number of rights to the patient. The rights are summarised as followed:
- Right to access health data – All patients have the right to request copies of their own medical data. This right stands even if you have unpaid bills. You can request either an electronic or hard copy of the data, and it should be provided without unreasonable delay.
- Right to correct/suggest corrections – If you believe some part of your medical record is incorrect, you have the right to suggest a correction. Even if the healthcare professional disagrees with the proposed revision, you retain the right to have your request for a correction recorded on file.
- Right to know who has accessed data – You have the right to know who has accessed your health information and how the information has been used. Usually, it will just be relevant healthcare individuals, though in some cases the records may be used for issues of public health.