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10 MGMA Stat polls offer insights into healthcare trends today

MGMA Stat - July 10, 2018

Data Stories

Since launching in 2016, nearly 4,300 healthcare professionals have sounded off on dozens of topics affecting the industry in weekly MGMA Stat polls. The insights gained from these polls have spurred numerous articles with tips and resources that provide a snapshot of how practice leaders across the country are dealing with these issues. Keep reading for the results of 2018’s top-10-most-engaging questions so far.

To sign up for MGMA Stat, simply text TOP10 to 33550 to begin receiving the weekly polls and results.

How many hours per week do you spend in meetings?

hours per week in meetings

In the May 29 MGMA Stat poll, 39% of practice leaders said they spend 0 to 5 hours in meetings each week, while 40% reported spending 6 to 15 hours. An additional 14% said they spend 16 to 25 hours in meetings a week, and 7% said they spend more than 25 hours a week in meetings.

Cristy Good, MPH, MBA, CPC, MGMA Industry Advisor, noted that meeting organizers and practice leaders can also develop rules about tardiness and engagement to mitigate the impact of late arrivals or attendees who spend time on their phone or other devices when they should be focused on the discussion.

Does your organization conduct patient satisfaction surveys?

patient satisfaction surveys

More than 82% of respondents in the June 5 MGMA Stat poll said “yes,” while only 17% said “no;” the remaining 1% were “unsure.” Of those healthcare leaders who responded “yes,” 86% use patient satisfaction surveys to measure organizational performance.

Kenneth T. Hertz, FACMPE, principal, MGMA Consulting, states, “If you neglect to use patient satisfaction surveys, you are missing out on a valuable tool that can help you gain insight from your patients and improve your practice’s performance.”

Will you offer telehealth services in 2018?

telehealth services

Telehealth services continue to gain traction in medical group practices, though at a slow pace according to the January 9 MGMA Stat poll. On average, telehealth program implementation took around one year, with the time frame ranging from as brief as several months to as long as a couple of years.

Does your organization do a formal employee performance evaluation?

formal performance evaluation

As indicated in the April 24 MGMA Stat poll, an overwhelming majority of respondents said they conduct formal performance evaluations: 81% of respondents answered "yes, for every position," and 11% responded "yes, for some positions." Only 8% of respondents said they do not conduct these evaluations.

Kenneth T. Hertz, FACMPE, principal, MGMA Consulting, stated that by maximizing the value of employee performance evaluations, “your employee engagement and organizational success will soar!”

Do you use secure (encrypted) email when sending patient data?

secure email sending patient data

Email has become one of our primary methods of communication. However, in the healthcare environment, the improper use of email could lead to an inappropriate disclosure of patient information and a possible HIPAA violation.

The January 23 MGMA Stat poll asked: “Do you use secure (encrypted) email when sending patient data?” The majority (88%) responded “yes,” with a further 4% stating that they were “considering it.” Only 6% indicated that they do not use secure email, and 2% stated that they were “unsure.”

Policy for employee notification of not reporting to work

calling out notification

There is an ever-present shift from a phone call to other means of notification such as texting. This tendency, however, doesn’t always translate well into a professional setting. In his 2015 book, Texting in Sick: How Smartphones, Texting, and Social Media Are Changing Our Relationships, Rune Vejby discusses a survey commissioned by British medicine maker Covonia that indicated "72% of managers feel texting or emailing in sick is a 'cop out'" for employees who would rather avoid a potentially difficult conversation.

Does your practice use text messaging to communicate appointments to patients?

text appointment communication

Electronic devices have become the norm for most of our daily communications, making them crucial components of reaching patients in an increasingly consumer-centric healthcare environment. The May 22 MGMA Stat poll discovered that the majority (68%) responded “yes” to communicating appointments to patients, while only 24% said “no.” Another 7% said they were “considering it,” and the remaining 1% were “unsure.”

Nick Fabrizio, PhD, FACMPE, FACHE, principal, MGMA Consulting, recommended that practices “be vigilant when sending information via text messages as text messaging is not typically a fully secure channel for the communication of Protected Health Information (PHI).”

Have you personally engaged in preventative health behaviors in the past year?

engaged in preventative health behavior

The January 2 MGMA Stat poll asked whether practice leaders had personally engaged in preventative health behavior in the past year. The majority (82%) of respondents said “yes,” 16% said “no” and 2% were “unsure.” In a follow-up question asking respondents to indicate in what preventative behaviors they had participated, many indicated exercise coupled with nutrition, yoga and meditation.

To successfully reach goals, both personal and professional, Kenneth T. Hertz, FACMPE, principal, MGMA Consulting, suggested employing SMART criteria (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time Bound).

How soon must providers sign off on patient encounters?

close patient chart time

In the March 6 MGMA Stat poll, 79% of respondents indicated that their providers must sign off on patient encounters within 72 hours. Approximately 59% said that providers must sign off within 48 hours, and 30% reported it must be done within 24 hours.

Nick Fabrizio, PhD, FACMPE, FACHE, principal, MGMA Consulting, pressed the importance of helping providers complete their notes in a timely fashion. This includes educating providers and staff on the necessity of timely chart completion, providing ongoing training in best practices using the EHR and finding ways to optimize nonphysician staff to help in chart completion.

Are you satisfied with your organization’s culture (e.g., norms, values, mission)?

organization culture satisfaction

For many of the April 10 MGMA Stat poll respondents, employee engagement was central to their organization’s healthy culture, which starts with the physician leaders and chief executive officers. As one respondent noted, “Leadership starts at the top. Our physicians are credited with building a high integrity practice and teamwork.”

Pamela Ballou-Nelson, RN MSHP, PhD, CMPE, principal, MGMA Consulting, further emphasized this point by stating, “At its root, cultural change is intimately tied to individual change. Unless clinicians, office managers and staff are willing to commit to personal change, the practice culture will remain the same and the move to value-based models will be difficult and possibly unsuccessful.” 


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