The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) is bringing a lot of change to healthcare, including reimbursement based on quality, value, and results of care. While physicians determine which MACRA measures to complete in this 2017 transition year and how they will affect payment, the same careful attention should be paid to how quality measures will affect physician reputation.

This is because MACRA mandates that performance results be made available to Medicare beneficiaries and consumers, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has developed a Physician Compare website to help consumers make informed choices about the healthcare they receive through Medicare.

Through MACRA’s Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), most Medicare Part B clinicians will publically report clinician performance on a 100-point scale through four performance categories: quality, cost, improvement activities, and advancing care information. CMS will fold these metrics into a 5-star and percentage rating reflecting each provider’s performance scores and will post them on Physician Compare within 15 months of the reporting deadline.

The importance of reputation

According to Software Advice, 84% of patients surveyed use online reviews as their first step in finding a new doctor. Physician Compare is one source for physician reviews, but its information is then being pulled into third-party rating sites including HealthGrades, Yelp, and Google, giving MIPS scores new meaning when it comes to practice reputation.

The MIPS performance threshold is expected to increase each year, as the average practice score improves, so how can you leverage MIPS best practices to maximize your reputation?

  • Take measurement seriously. Start reporting now. Even if you can only report the minimum in 2017, participate on some level not only to avoid penalty but to help you gain experience and bigger returns with future reporting. For its highest performers, CMS has built in an incentive of an additional positive payment adjustment of up to 2.4%.
  • Make your data work for you. Familiarize yourself with the MIPS measures and then choose what can make the most impact. Only a few measures are required for reporting, and there are hundreds to choose from. If you select activities you are already doing for your patients, you can make reporting a bit easier.
  • Use a certified EHR. Capture your data in an EHR that is fully certified based on 2014 or 2015 Edition Certification. Make sure that your EHR can securely share information with other doctors you may associate with on behalf of the patient, and verify that the EHR allows e-Prescribing of medications.
  • Make it easy for patients to connect. Have a patient portal or a practice management system that not only makes it easy for patients to schedule and be reminded of appointments, but one that also provides access to test results.
  • Collaborate with patients. By sharing information, communicating, and being truly invested in your patients’ care, you can build a strong practice reputation from the inside out.

Consumers are making informed choices in all areas of their lives, so it’s no surprise that they are comparing healthcare providers. CMS is now making that easier by sharing MIPS scores online. Be prepared by ensuring that you have the technology in place to make your practice stand out. Being a high scoring practice can be an excellent way to grow your business.