Wondering what 2016 holds for the independent practice? What will the big changes and trends be in medical billing and health IT? The more you know about what is coming, the better you can prepare to continue your practice's success. Several experts share their predictions for what is to come next year...
- Elizabeth Woodcock: Telehealth will be a focus of practices, as access reaches near crisis levels in rural areas and reimbursement for teleheath is more favorable than ever. Practices will focus on recalling patients for preventive care instead of just picking up the phone thereby becoming active in population health. Texting will become mainstream, as well as self scheduling, with patients demanding more automation from the industry.
- Laurie Morgan: I predict that more practices will try (and benefit from) front office technologies to help with patient payment responsibility estimation, pre-authorizations, online scheduling, mobile payments, and more. Practices will gain more reliable cash flow, and patients will be pleased to have more payment options and better cost information.
- Tom Giannulli, MS, MD: 2016 is back to patient care year. It is time to focus on making your practice easier for patients to interact with. Discovery on the web, digital interactions pre- and post-visit are all part of the story. Next MIPS and value-based care policy changes will need to be reviewed and each practice will need to start planning how they will manage the changes coming in the next three years.
- John Lynn: In 2016, we're going to see a big increase in practices that move to a direct primary care or concierge medicine model. Plus, on the other side of the coin, we will see a large percentage of doctors opting out of government programs and accepting the associated penalties for not participating. This will leave many to consider leaving Medicare and could be the start of major problems for Medicare in some areas of the country.
- Betsy Nicoletti, CPC: I would say that this is the year to get serious about PQRS. If you haven't done it yet, this is the year.
- Judy Capko: We are beginning to see some practices breakaway from recently formed affiliations or partnerships with hospitals based on frustrations, disappointing support for patient services, and/or a desire for a little more autonomy and control in decision-making.
- John Sung Kim: We will see a surge of independent practices initiating email newsletter campaigns that lead back to their practice's blog as content marketing begins to rival social media marketing for the attention of consumers. Google's expected 2016 major algorithm update, which is expected to place an increased emphasis on content that gets measurable unique visits shortly after posting, will further drive this trend towards email newsletters that drive traffic back to a practice's blog.
- Audrey McLaughlin: I believe that practices that are not actively marketing on social media will start to feel the lag in new patients and business compared to their counterparts.
Clearly, the experts see a few key trends. Practices should start to look at a more comprehensive digital marketing plan and be open to possible options like adding a direct pay program to their practice. It's also time to get serious about the CMS incentive programs if you haven't already. Think about 2016 as the year to be open to change and new opportunities.
To learn more about what's coming, check out December webinars on business trends and reimbursement changes in 2016 at the Kareo Resource Center. If you are interested in learning more about some of the options to help you be a more Agile Medical Practice, visit www.kareo.com/agile-medical-practice.