Micropractices explored to better serve patients

According to an August 26, 2008 article in the Washington Post, some physicians are revisiting the concept of a ‘micropractice’, a method of creating low overhead high tech medical practices to improve interaction with patients. Physicians are encouraged to create such models by health care reform experts who are looking to create medical homes and improve chronic disease management. By reinventing their clinical practice, physicians are finding more effective and more fulfilling ways to practice medicine, according to the Post.

The micropractice is one of several models that the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) and other quality improvement groups are recommending to modernize physician practices, many of which remain nearly “indistinguishable from the early 1900s, minus the computer screen,” says Don Berwick, the IHI’s president.

Under the model, practices focus on eliminating wait times, using e-mail and telephone consults, tapping home monitoring technologies, and improving efficiency to ensure physicians and nurses spend the vast majority of their time delivering care. The Post profiles the micropractice of an Annapolis, Md.-based physician, who switched to the model after working several years in a traditional suburban group practice. The profiled physician takes Medicare and is in the network of a few health plans, but many patients see the physician out of network, paying upfront and getting reimbursed by their insurers.

Click here for the complete article [registration required]. (SOURCES: Advisory Board Daily Briefing , http://advisory.com, October 23, 2004; Special to The Washington Post, http://washingtonpost.com , August 29, 2008, J. Kenen)