7 Trends Medical Practices Will See in 2014

In 2014, physicians and their practices will face innumerable changes. We aren’t fortunetellers, but based on what we’ve been hearing, we can guess we’ll see a lot more of the following:

1.     Practices Focusing on Cash: This could mean more doctors opening their minds to self-pay patients or patients choosing to pay out-of-pocket as opposed to going through insurance.  In some scenarios a practice might choose to act on an all-cash basis. This considered a Direct Primary Care (DPC) model, which is expected to be on the rise this year.

2.     Practices Showing Independence: Practices will attempt to maintain independence by finding creative ways to survive in a mostly hospital-run industry.  Physicians will find ways to do this through the help of Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) and Independent Physician Organizations (IPAs).

3.     Practices Outsourcing: Due to the changes in reimbursement, physicians will be looking for better ways to improve their medical billing and collections practices. The best way to do this will be to outsource their billing to specialists who are already well versed in changes such as ICD-10 and handling bundled payments.

4.     Practices Using TOS Pricing: Having TOS pricing will allow outpatient providers to have more competitive pricing. Many independent practices have been asking themselves how to market their prices, but are hesitant to let competitors know what they are working with.  Not every practice will be able to pull this off, but the ones with fair pricing, who are willing to be transparent will be able to win patients over in the end.

5.     Practices Adopting Technology: There are oodles of applications and programs that help providers reach more patients and make themselves more accessible to referring providers.  We’ll see more physicians using tablets for communication, diagnosing, even appointment scheduling.

6.     Practices Using Social Media: Word on the street is that Google will be judging websites’ SEO differently in 2014. They will be putting more weight on websites’ social media prowess.  As a medical practice, it is important to have positive reviews and patient engagement on their Facebook business pageTwitter and Youtube will also become much more valuable when it comes to search engine optimization.

7.     Practices Networking Better: While ACOs will be on the rise, they are not the right solution for every independent practice.  Still, practices will need to take steps to stand out in their local medical communities.  Through networking events like open houses and community activities, independent centers will find creative ways to maintain referring physician relations.

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