Revolution in Real Time
Physician Practice Management in the 21st Century
Christian N. Ramsey, Jr, MD
Arch Fam Med. 1992;1(1):139-148.
Change in the health care system is stimulating the interest of physicians policymakers, and third-party payers in practice management activities. New analytic techniques and management concepts enable interested parties to obtain more and better information about the overall results of practice. These new techniques and concepts offer physicians an opportunity to exert more influence on the direction and productivity of practice than in the past. This report reviews the development of three emerging fields and projects their impact on practice management. Outcomes management technology involves adjusting for the differences in patient biology between practices and describes outcomes of patient interventions in standard ways. Medical informatics involves the conversion of data into information that allows the physician manager to direct outcomes, quality, and costs. Quality management involves empowering employees and physicians to participate in improving the overall performance of the practice. The use of techniques for analysis and intervention is changing the definition of practice management beyond its conventional preoccupation with billing and accounts receivable. In fact, a new science of practice management is emerging that describes the interactions between the health care organization and the outcomes of services to patients. These tools empower physicians to direct the performance of the practice, to match services to patient needs, and to manage the costs of practice operations. Thus, the new methods and technologies of practice management have the potential to bring substantial benefits to patients, office staff, and physicians.
From the Department of Family Medicine, Oklahoma University Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City.
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