We have worked with practices and looked at tens of thousands of medical records of patients with chronic pain, mostly in the primary care setting, with several pain specialists. The objective of these reviews is to help the practice assess the conformance of their documentation and also identify risk pools for some type of clinical action or follow-up. We know that patients end up being the real beneficiaries in the end because we are the pain specialty eyes that often see new opportunities to improve patient quality of life and/or reduce practice risk. The two often go hand in hand.
When we engage a prospect around the topic of risk stratification and its importance, we are often met with the same reactions: "Let's skip that step because we are already compliant. We have looked at all of the patients, have had many of our patients in the practice for decades, and are good doctors." We certainly believe all that to be true. We bring our own lens, based on decades of specialty experience. We also can apply the lens of state medical boards and other regulators who have their own perspective. While there may be a discussion of evolving standards of care, in the end, everyone is aligned around doing the best for patients and their outcomes.
So here is our current top ten list. This is what we see among the chronic pain population, and these are the areas that represent physician liability and risk and opportunities to improve patient care:
We could easily go on and add to this list to create a top 20 but we will leave that for another day. We have yet to find a single physician that does not have some of these issues lurking in their EMR. Usually not by intention, but for a variety of reasons that we will explore in upcoming articles.
We have solutions to address all of these issues. They are all very good at improving patient outcomes and all very good for the business of the practice.
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