According to MedAxiom’s annual Cardiovascular Provider Compensation & Production survey 45 percent of all cardiologists in America are aged 56 or older and 20 percent over 61. So, with an aging population of cardiology practitioners we must ask, “how is this is being addressed?” Two possible solutions are the promotion of Registered Nurse Practitioners and Physician’s Assistants to extend the work of cardiologists and using technologies like telemedicine.
Utilization of Advanced Practice Professionals
The Axiom survey showed there was a mutually beneficial relationship between aging cardiologists and advanced practice professionals (APP). The data indicated that greater utilization of PAs increased patient access and improved productivity while at the same time increased physician compensation. In the study, practices that had a higher ratio of APPs to physicians were among the top revenue earners.
How APPs Extend Cardiology Care
One thing that is clear from the study is that only the advanced practice professionals functioning at the highest levels of their training and education are able to duplicate the volume and quality of work needed to produce favorable results for the cardiology field and the communities they serve. These PAs and NPs functioned independently within clinics performing post-operative care, treating heart failure maintenance and managing hyperlipidemia. In the hospital setting, the APPs were able to handle low-level consultations, and discharges. This left cardiologists free to perform procedures and interventions.
Utilization of Telemedicine
Providing better, less costly, patient-focused is the driving focus of most telemedicine initiatives. However, it is also being used to make better use of a physician’s time, improving clinic efficiency.
Because of technical advancements, patient compliance, and favorable reimbursement models also helps these programs succeed. While they might not be profitable for some practices and health systems, they offer greater efficiencies, and potential cost savings that are becoming increasingly relevant.
Foremost, telemedicine allows the cardiologist to see patients at remote clinics whether across campus or across the county without leaving the hospital. These tele-appointments can be carried out in between procedures. Telemedicine also aids in consulting. Cardiologists are regularly pulled away from the cath lab to consult on various cases throughout the day, stifling productivity.
As technology advances there will be more opportunities to improve efficacies in cardiology. The use of physician extenders is already proving useful to improve patient care and increase revenues for cardiology practices. Of course, there needs to continue to be focus on recruitment of a younger generation of cardiologists. What challenges do you see as tantamount for the future of cardiology?
Our strategy focuses on enabling our clients to recruit the right people for the structure in which they will perform. Please contact us to learn more about our expertise in Executive Search for Commercial Leadership positions in Medical Device and Biotechnology; including Marketing, Strategy, Sales Leadership, Training, Development, etc. We look forward to the opportunity to help you consistently improve your performance and your business!
Follow me on Twitter @PrimeCoreSearch.