:: Voices ::

Trends Shaping Healthcare in 2016

hand-drawn-health-care-icons

Like many industries, healthcare is in a state of transition. As a technology company in this space, we at Axxess help our customers anticipate and prepare for both challenges and opportunities.

Here is a look at three emerging trends for 2016 that will have significant effects for companies in our industry, with lessons that may be applicable to companies in a wide variety of industries who understand the importance of staying ahead of the curve.

Technology Improves Productivity

For healthcare industry insiders, the only constant in the regulatory environment seems to be change. Indeed, new rules and regulations are often introduced with little advance notice, sometimes via conference call.

It is theoretically possible—but wholly impractical—for individual healthcare companies to track and absorb all regulatory changes on their own. The most innovative technology providers understood this early on and have found ways to automate that process for their customers. In this way, healthcare providers can focus their resources on their core business: taking care of patients.

For healthcare industry insiders, the only constant in the regulatory environment seems to be change.

Another way technology can improve productivity is by helping the user of the technology work more efficiently and effectively. Axxess primarily serves home health, the fastest growing sector in all of healthcare according to the New York Times.

In the case of Axxess, our end user in the patient’s home is a nurse, therapist, or clinician. Being tech savvy is not a requirement for these positions. Therefore, we spent a lot of time observing and listening to these people during the development phase of our software, and we designed our software with their productivity and ease of use in mind. Something that to us seemed like a no-brainer turned out to be an unprecedented way of doing business in our sector.

Focus on Outcomes, Not Outputs

With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act now entering its third year, the emphasis continues to shift toward the quality of patient care and positive medical outcomes.

For instance, in 2013 the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) changed its payment system for hospitals to a value-based system, wherein hospitals are reimbursed based on the value of care they deliver rather than the number of services they provide.

Beginning in January of 2016, this new payment system is finally being rolled out to home healthcare. The change takes place today for home health agencies in nine states (Arizona, Florida, Iowa, Maryland, Maine, Nebraska, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Washington), with more states to follow.

Companies in any industry can learn from the evolution of the healthcare industry by making sure that their focus is locked on the end user of their product or service, and by eliminating any barriers to communication that may exist within their organizations.

If these changes have their desired effect, patients will be better served. Ultimately, the medical systems (hospitals, home health agencies, and other providers working together) that are most successful in making it easy for treatment teams to communicate quickly and comprehensively, will prosper.

Companies in any industry can learn from the evolution of the healthcare industry by making sure that their focus is locked on the end user of their product or service, and by eliminating any barriers to communication that may exist within their organizations.

Never Stop Fine-Tuning

Healthcare providers submit claims to Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance that are aligned with specific billing codes, called the International Classification of Diseases, or ICD. In October, CMS introduced an update to ICD with more specific descriptions of diagnoses, procedures, and treatments. The new codes are more complicated (and longer) than the previous coding set and require training for proper implementation.

Although providers were aware of this transition for at least two years, some were still not prepared and are likely to have serious interruptions to their cash flow in early 2016, when improperly filed claims start to be rejected.

When an industry is constantly evolving, it is incumbent on companies to ensure that their people are staying abreast of changes that may ultimately have a very real effect—for better or worse—on them.

These providers could have avoided their impending fiscal pain if they had just availed themselves of the training that was offered by a plethora of vendors and educators. Some, like the Axxess webinar program, were provided free of charge as a service to the community of healthcare practitioners. When an industry is constantly evolving, it is incumbent on companies to ensure that their people are staying abreast of changes that may ultimately have a very real effect—for better or worse—on them.

 


For a daily dose of what’s new and next in Dallas-Fort Worth innovation, subscribe to our Dallas Innovates e-newsletter.

As President and CEO of Axxess, John Olajide leads the strategic vision and direction of the company. Olajide is passionate about improving the quality of healthcare services delivered to patients in (...)

Comments are closed.