Goldin Peiser & Peiser recently attended the Health Care Administrators Association (HCAA) NicheWorks 2018 Conference, where hundreds of industry leaders gathered to hear the greatest priorities in the dental and medical industries. Here are some key highlights and trends to watch for in 2019.
Dentists and medical practitioners are focused on running and growing their practices, so it’s understandable that the eventual exit of their practices seems far off in the future. Whether you exit by planned retirement or due to unforeseen circumstances, you should always be asking, “What is my future ability to sell my practice?”
No one likes to think about emergencies, but it’s important to keep organized patient charts and financial documentation. By being prepared, you will improve your ability to manage the practice because it forces you to be more organized. In addition to planning for retirement, you should have plans in place to transition the practice and for an emergency exit.
Practice Management Reports: Making the Invisible Visible
One of the themes at the conference was the desire for more analytics and the lack of attention to existing practice management reports. Specifically, there is a lack of good statistics and analytics that can help practitioners do a more efficient job of managing their businesses and boosting productivity. You should look at what reports and metrics you are using, and how you can more effectively examine metrics through graphics and dashboards. Make sure you work with a professional to understand your profit and loss statements, as well as risk management issues.
Practice Management Software
Watch for the latest practice software that can help you manage accounts receivable and help ensure you are maximizing scheduling for fuller days and fewer gaps. Know how to get it, interpret it and understand it. For dentists, there is an increased use of digital imaging and lasers. You’ll find the new breed of analytics tools to be cloud-based and mobile-friendly.
Watch for concierge-type treatment plans, where for one cost, the patient can expect to receive a set amount of services. According to one conference speaker, in-house discount plans are expected to be in half of all dental practices by the end of 2019.
More Educated Patients
Patients are coming to appointments after doing their own research. They’ve checked out your practice, the practitioner they are seeing and sometimes have a general sense of what a service or product should cost.
Social media has made it easier for patients to post reviews and read others’ reviews. You can use this trend to your advantage by encouraging pleased patients to post reviews after their visit. Take the time to know what patients are posting about you and your practice, and think of ways to manage the message.
Cybersecurity attacks continue to threaten businesses in most industries, risking financial and reputational harm. Specifically, ransomware – a malicious software that blocks access to a computer system until the victim makes a payment – is on the rise, with medical practices in the cross-hairs. Ways to protect your practice? Schedule regular risk assessments, conduct training and create a disaster response and business continuity plan.
As we addressed in a previous blog, telemedicine has taken off and is expected to be a $66 billion industry by 2021. Patients benefit from getting care where and when they need it, especially to help manage chronic conditions. While Medicare only covers telemedical services in limited circumstances, we can expect future expansion. Your practice will need to weigh the pros and cons according to patient needs and practice costs.
ACA Mandate Repeal; Value-based Payments
Now that the government repealed the Affordable Care Act’s individual and employer mandates, we can expect more choices and more individual responsibility for health care. Value-based care and value-based payments will continue to increase in importance. All eyes will be on performance-based care, and that means all providers will need to collect and report data that prove they are meeting acceptable standards.
Watch for the federal government to continue to shift financial risk to the states. As providers increase their financial risk, insurers will be decreasing their risk.
Goldin Peiser & Peiser will address some of these topics further throughout 2019.
Note: This content is accurate as of the date published above and is subject to change. Please seek professional advice before acting on any matter contained in this article.