Physicians and other medical practitioners are experiencing significant changes in their businesses. Not only do they need to stay current with medical changes, but they need to focus on the realities of managing the business. This often includes integration and management of Electronic Health Records (EHR), insurance billing, collections, integration of technology in diagnostics and more. This is against the backdrop of the popularity of concierge medicine including immediate and urgent care centers. Despite all of the challenges, independent medical practices are optimistic about their growth opportunities. According to the Kareo 2019 State of the Independent Practice Industry Report, 60% of report respondents anticipate their practice will grow in the coming twelve months. This optimistic outlook is based on many practices focused on delivering quality care, collecting patient balances and patient engagement. It was also revealed that practices less than 10 years old were more optimistic about growth opportunities than those greater than 10 years old. While each practice is different the information uncovered in the report offers an interesting perspective. To help clients, prospects, and others, Hanson & Co has provided a summary of key survey findings below.
About the Survey
The results featured in the report were collected from 782 physician healthcare providers across the nation representing a diverse number of practice specialties. Eighty-two percent of respondents were general practitioners, family practice or internal medicine practices, the balance was from practices representing over 45 different specialties including orthopedic, dermatology and podiatry. The practice experience of surveyed practices ranged from less than 1 year to over 20 years.
- Growth Opportunity – As mentioned above a majority of study participants are optimistic about growth in the coming year. According to the report, 60% of respondents expect their practice to grow, 29% expect no change and 11% expect the practice to contract. Given the diverse ages of participating practices, it’s important to note practices less than 10 years old were only 7.6% more optimistic than older practices. This demonstrates a broad level of optimism across independent medical practices.
- Changing Business Models – As the healthcare market continues to change many practices assess opportunities for consolidation, acquisitions, and partnerships. The study found that 65% of practices will not make a change, 14% will merge with another practice, 13% will join a hospital (a sharp decline over prior years) and 8% are planning to disassociate from their hospital affiliation. It appears there will be little change in business models with only a 5% net gain in practices expected to join a hospital.
- Technology in Practice Profitability – Many businesses have implemented technology to improve efficiency. According to the study, 37% of respondents completely agree technology will help with profitability, 32% somewhat agree, 16% neither agree or disagree, 8% somewhat disagree and 8% completely disagree. 69% of providers agree that technology solutions are needed to improve efficiency.
- Patient Care Challenges – Given the importance of quality patient care, it’s important to understand where practices are facing the biggest challenge. According to the study, 74% of respondents identified increasing demands on provider time, 72% managing quality measure incentives is cumbersome and 69% time demands for entering information into EHR detracts from patient care.
- EHR/EMR In Practices – The study also wanted to understand how EHR/EMR is being used in care delivery. According to the study, 64% of respondents are currently using EHR/EMR, 17% have plans to acquire it in the next 12 months and 25% are looking to switch EHR/EMR vendors in the same period. Since 40% of practices will be using new technology in the coming year, it’s reasonable to believe there will be an increase in care delivery.
- Insurance Reimbursements – Managing insurance reimbursements is essential to the financial vitality of a practice. For this reason, many are undertaking initiatives to reduce issues in the payment process. According to the study, 82% of respondents are focused on claim rejections, 85% reducing insurance denials, 79% determining insurance eligibility, 72% streamlining charge entry and 71% on reporting and analytics. Taking advantage of programs such as value-based payments is not possible until reimbursement issues are better managed.
The results of the study provide Denver physicians and medical practices with important insights on practice management and opportunities. The information provided above represents an overview of the information contained in the report. If you have questions about these findings or need assistance with a tax, audit or accounting issue, Hanson & Co can help. For additional information call us at 303-388-1010 or click here to contact us. We look forward to speaking with you soon.