HIT, Small Physician Practices, and IPAs

In its June 2011 Research Brief, the National Institute for Health Care Reform reports that “lessons from independent practice associations (IPAs) — net-works of small medical practices — can offer guidance about overcoming barriers to HIT adoption and use” in small physician practices.  The study found that IPAs, as local networks of independent physician practices, promoted the development of HIT-knowledgeable physician leaders who were able to gain the trust of their less HIT experienced colleagues in coordinating efforts to deal with risk-based managed care contracts.

The study concludes that “IPA experiences with HIT adoption can offer insights for other entities charged with helping physicians in small practices overcome barriers to HIT adoption and use.”

(The study may also provide critical insights to, and hope in, dealing effectively with the even greater hurdles that physician groups are facing in their coming together to form accountable care organizations, where HIT will be critical to success.)

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