Patient Panel: What Is It and What Do I Really Do With It?

Patient Panel: What Is It and What Do I Really Do With It?

  • December 12, 2023

As the overall healthcare industry (slowly) experiences a shift from volume to value, it calls into question the historical measures of provider productivity. For decades, the focus of provider productivity has been on volume-based measurements such as gross charges, professional collections, encounters and most notably, wRVUs. Each of these has its pros/cons and has been used in various situations; however, the predominant measure of productivity has been wRVUs. As more reimbursement is tied to factors outside of pure production, the question of the day is whether wRVUs as the sole measure of production is sufficient. In short, the answer is “no.” This is especially true for specialties that are charged with managing a patient population, such as primary care, versus specialties that largely address episodic issues, such as neurosurgery.

The “no” answer to this question has led to the exploration of other measures, with a core focus on patient panel. It is worth noting that the concept of patient panel is by no means new and has been used in a variety of ways for at least the last couple of decades. Specifically, capitated arrangements have always relied on patient panel to drive reimbursement. However, the idea of patient panel in the context of provider compensation is at least more de novo, gaining prevalence over the last decade. Still, it is not widely accepted across provider compensation arrangements. It is expected that it will continue to gain in prominence and therefore a foundational understanding of what it is and how it is used is worthwhile.

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