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    Chris Harrop
    Chris Harrop

    With heightened expenses and prolonged labor shortage pains, medical group practice leaders understand that necessity gives birth to form of invention in 2024. 

    As the January 2024 Data Mine article detailed, multispecialty medical group practices pushed productivity higher in 2022 despite not significantly increasing staffing per full-time-equivalent physician. With healthcare leaders focusing on finance and revenue cycle management (RCM) to tackle rising expenses and mostly stagnant reimbursement, innovating in key operational areas is essential. 

    MGMA Stat - February 20, 2024 results

    A Feb. 20, 2024, MGMA Stat poll asked medical group leaders which areas their organizations will outsource or automate in 2024. While a sizable share (42%) noted they had no applicable plans, some common areas were noted by other respondents: 

    • One respondent in five (20%) noted they plan to outsource and/or automate elements of their revenue cycle management in 2024. 
    • Nearly as many (18%) said they are looking at automation or outsourcing of patient communications in their contact centers. 
    • About one respondent in 10 (10%) mentioned adding outsourcing or automating to their recruiting efforts this year. 

    The poll had 262 responses. 

    Revenue cycle 

    Since the COVID-19 pandemic, hiring for revenue cycle roles such as coders, billers, schedulers and staff to handle authorizations has been particularly difficult, as detailed in a March 2023 MGMA Stat poll. 

    In this latest poll, respondents told MGMA that nearly all areas are ideal for putting in the hands of a third party or full automation. As one practice leader said, “pretty much all of it” was on the table: 

    • Claim scrubbing and submissions, as well as denials management and appeals, were frequently cited as areas for outsourcing or automation 
    • Eligibility checks and prior authorization work also stood out as key areas of RCM updates 
    • Other areas included medical coding, self-pay collections and credentialing. 


    More than three in four (78%) medical group leaders told us in October 2023 that they spent more time on recruitment and interviewing than in the previous year. Even for those who reported some stability amid the Great Resignation, it took months or years of implementing new staffing models, new remote work opportunities and/or seeking out more outsourced help for recruitment to help their organizations stand out as employers of choice. 

    Today, there have been few signs that the demands for finding talented candidates for clinical and nonclinical roles will ebb, and the focus on outside help continues, as well. A Jan. 30, 2024, MGMA Stat poll found that 60% of medical groups expect to use the same level of contract and locum tenens work this year as they did in 2023. 

    But some organizations have turned toward technology to give them an assist. As reported by Modern Healthcare, AI chatbots have shown they can eliminate significant time in reaching out to job candidates and soliciting answers to questions as part of the hiring process. The instant responses to candidates from AI chatbots made it much more likely that a clinician candidate would complete the application process than if it took longer for a human to respond. 

    • Read this Physicians Practice article for more considerations for automation and AI to aid in staffing. 

    Contact center 

    Making improvements to patient communications via an organization’s contact center has been in focus for practice leaders since patient volumes began spiking as the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic passed. In January 2023, nearly four in 10 medical group leaders said their organizations planned to optimize or implement major changes to phone systems or contact centers

    In this latest poll, scheduling services, prescription refills and chronic care management stood out as top areas in which practice leaders expect to automate or outsource, with many respondents noting they are focused on addressing patient access and population health management in the process. 


    Beyond those key areas, practice leaders noted they will spend this year looking to automate or outsource: 

    • Other human resources functions, such as benefits administration 
    • Clinical administrative tasks via virtual medical assistants (MAs) and virtual administrative staff 
    • Overall improvements to data analytics and reporting, including optimization of rules engines embedded within their EHR or PM systems. 
    Chris Harrop

    Written By

    Chris Harrop

    A veteran journalist, Chris Harrop serves as managing editor of MGMA Connection magazine, MGMA Insights newsletter, MGMA Stat and several other publications across MGMA. Email him.

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