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AAFP Eyes Technology to Help Family Practices Reduce Administrative Burdens

Analysis  |  By Eric Wicklund  
   February 24, 2022

The American Academy of Family Physicians is looking to help primary care providers shift from a fee-for-service model to a prospective payment strategy that offers less administrative work and more time with patients.

The American Academy of Family Physicians is partnering with a digital health company to help primary care providers spend less time on administrative work and more time with patients.

The AAFP has launched an innovation lab with San Francisco-based Hint Health to study how the company’s HintOS platform can help providers with member enrollment, administration, eligibility, billing, collections, and other services. The platform, which focuses on prospective payments and value-based care, is positioned as an alternative to traditional fee-for-service (FFS) models that require extensive overhead and administrative time that pull providers away from caregiving.

“The family medicine experience is based on a deeply personal physician-patient interaction, but today’s fee-for-service (FFS) model and many technologies used in practice have eroded the experience rather than enhanced it,” Dr. Steven E. Waldren, the AAFP’s vice president and CMIO, said in a press release.

As part of the innovation lab, the AAFP surveyed 10 physician practices who used the HintOS platform. All reported that the technology gave them “ample time” with their patients, increasing those visits from an average of 15 minutes to about 45 minutes, and allowed them to expand their patient base to include more underinsured or uninsured patients.

Primary care physicians have been struggling to balance patient care with the administrative demands of running a practice, a responsibility that figures considerably into soaring rates of stress, anxiety and burnout. Tech vendors like Hint Health offer a variety of services aimed at outsourcing or automating those tasks so that doctors can practice medicine.

“HintOS addresses the operational requirements of the DPC prospective payment model, which frees physicians from the FFS treadmill and enables them to focus on their patients,” Waldren said in the press release. “Through this process, we further validated myriad benefits, including that DPC offers improved access and time with physicians and is an avenue to expand needed primary care services. The impact of this study suggests that prospective payment, such as seen with DPC, may be the ideal model for family physicians.”

The partnership with the AAFP comes as Hint also expands its reach. The company recently launched Hint Connect, a nationwide network aimed at giving employers a single point of access to independent primary care providers, in Texas, with plans to expand to Florida, Arizona, Colorado and Oklahoma in the next three months.

Eric Wicklund is the associate content manager and senior editor for Innovation, Technology, and Pharma for HealthLeaders.

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