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The technological innovation happening in the healthcare industry in recent years has centered around the idea of using data and IT systems to improve patient care. Now, healthcare organizations must prepare to take advantage of digital tools to improve physician performance and achieve major gains in treatment quality. Policy and training management tools are vital here, as they let you flexibly adjust best practices and training methodologies in response to operational demands.

The idea of ramping up training materials and policies to improve patient care may not seem urgent on the surface, but 2016 could turn out to be a year in which physician performance begins to be evaluated more rigorously by healthcare industry stakeholders.

Assessing physicians to ramp up quality
In a Modern Healthcare report highlighting industry trends for 2016, John Toussaint, CEO of the ThedaCare Center for Healthcare Value, explained that Medicare’s new value-based payment methodology will lead to greater scrutiny as to how physicians provide care. The plan will involve a merit-based payment system that dictates how Medicare delivers funds to physicians. While the measure won’t officially be put in place until 2019, healthcare organizations will likely start moving to improve the quality of work coming from physicians right away.

Quality of care is becoming even more of a priority in 2016.
Quality of care is becoming even more of a priority in 2016.

Elliot Sloane, president of the Center for Healthcare Information Research and Policy, also believes that changes in physician reimbursement models will lead to a focus on quality in the coming year. A recent HealthcareITNews report explained that Sloane will speak at the upcoming HIMSS16 conference in February, and use that time to talk about how changes being made by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will lead to a new emphasis on quality from physicians.

Supporting staff that will face mounting performance pressure
Being a physician is already a stressful job. Add in close third-party scrutiny of work quality and you introduce major tension. The fact that those evaluations will have a direct result on reimbursements creates a situation in which physicians could face huge challenges in the coming year. Healthcare organizations can use policies to ensure physicians are aware of the expectations being set by Medicare leaders. Training, on the other hand, can prepare clinical staff to adjust their processes in light of these changes. Document management software digitizes these training and process materials, making it much easier to edit, distribute and manage them, leading to considerable efficiency gains.