Of course everyone is making predictions about what 2013 holds for the healthcare industry. And however you slice the pie…..the following topics are sure to be on the list. IT holds almost everyone’s attention right now as we move closer and closer to full implementation of the so called Affordable Healthcare Act. But other topics hold equal attention and need a balanced approach.
- It’s about the patient stupid! – Engaging patients in an ongoing dialogue will make a real difference to most practices. Practice web sites with helpful information for patients, down-loadable forms to increase efficiency and wait times, phone calls to follow-up with chronically ill patients and even e-mails will keep patients connected to your practice.
- Data, Data, Data – With decreasing reimbursements, more self-pay patients or more self-pay requirements of many 2013 plans, analysis of data becomes paramount to keeping a practice thriving. What data to look at and how to look at it to maximize your practices revenue stream will be your most important task this year. Read about and talk to other practices to know what they are looking at and how. Or get some expert advice on how to best and most proficient way to build reports to get the data you need.
- Payment Reform and ACOs – Whether the practice is a part of an ACO or is in an employment model with a hospital or a free standing clinic, payment reform will be a reality in 2013. It will be difficult to predict what all these changes will be until the legislature passes laws confirming these reforms, but you can bet on reform. The ACO model bundles payments to the hospital who will then distribute to surgeons and other providers. Negotiating how these payments are distributed and continuously analyzing these payments will be a full time job.
- Meaningful Use – Phase one rolled out with little fanfare and everyone breathed a sigh of relief…….phase two requirements put more pressure not only on providers but on the EHR software. Phase three will require many providers to spend money to wither upgrade their current EHR software or purchase new. There are more than 7,000 varieties of EHR’s out there right now. The industry simply will not be able sustain all of them. At some point, they will need to either be able to talk to each other or to a centralized data bank. Check with your vendor to make sure your software will comply with future roll outs of meaningful use and if buying for first time……make sure what you are buying will give you the ability to meet future requirements.
If your strategic plan does not include the above terms…..go back to the drawing board. This year may be a bumpy ride, but you can ensure your healthcare business is strategically sound by paying close attention to these hot topics.