The Medical Practice Management Association® (MGMA®) just wrapped up its annual conference with record attendance last week. As I participated in the meeting, I was struck by the diversity of the audience. While the more traditional attendees from large practices were present, the meeting also appeared to draw quite a few smaller practices this year, such as those in the one-to-three provider range.
That probably shouldn’t be surprising. Many vendors are seeing an uptick in the number of small practices now embracing and adopting electronic health records (EHRs), and MGMA presents a logical place to gain information, network with other providers, and learn how to address common implementation stumbling blocks. Basically, MGMA has the playbook on how to implement this type of technology, and smaller practices as well as newer ones can benefit from this knowledge.
The meeting itself focused on a variety of current topics and emerging trends that are important to healthcare practices of all shapes and sizes. For example, it offered sessions that described how practices could enhance operations by increasing revenue, containing costs, leveraging health information technology, and improving the quality of patient care.
The conference also offered sessions that helped physicians think about their practices in the context of health reform and ICD-10. These forward-looking presentations examined the strategic implications of reform and discussed how to achieve economic goals going forward into the new era. There were specific sessions related to Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs)—including one about developing the infrastructure to support an ACO, and another addressing how to ensure physician independence.
One exciting development that came out of the conference was the announcement of the merger between MGMA and the American College of Medical Practice Executives (ACMPE). The resulting association will continue to provide a professional home for members while offering certification; services and education; data and benchmarking resources; and advocacy in Washington, D.C. While the structure of the new association is still under development, it will be interesting to see how the association continues to support medical practices into the future.