The Affordable Care Act has reset the healthcare market for patients and providers alike. But with change comes the opportunity for proactive businesses to adapt and grow.
When it comes to differentiating your healthcare business from the pack, emphasizing value-based care may be the best strategy. Value-based care focuses on cost, quality and outcomes—all while paying particular attention to patient satisfaction.
Dotty Bollinger, president and COO of the Tampa-based Laser Spine Institute, says she founded her business on exceeding the needs of the patient. Starting with one surgeon and nine employees eight years ago, the Laser Spine Institute has grown into a nationwide spine surgery provider.
Bollinger attributes that growth to creating a plan that puts patients’ needs first. And now the Affordable Care Act has made patient-centric care even more critical, since consumers will have additional say in choosing their healthcare providers.
“Moving forward, it’s the patients who are going to select the providers,” Bollinger says. “You are only going to keep the patient population that you want by providing excellent care.”
Providing patient-centric care requires the aid of a well-oiled machine. As healthcare providers compete for market share, here are some strategies for advancing your business.
Build a strong administrative team
With new standards for documentation mandated by healthcare reform, building a team equipped to handle the administrative side of the business is critical for success. Consider bringing a certified medical coder on board to help with insurance claims. If you don’t already have one, consider hiring an office manager to handle business-related tasks.
“If you can, implement efficiencies in your day-to-day, because ultimately if you don’t do that part right, you don’t get paid for it,” Bollinger says.
Medical practices also need to ensure they hire enough administrative personnel to manage the operational aspects of the business, so doctors have more time to focus on seeing patients, Bollinger says. This is important because as more Americans gain health insurance, the volume of patients that doctors see every day could rise.
“It’s going to be of the utmost importance that the doctor is practicing medicine instead of doing administrative things,” she says.
Build an online presence
Consumers are seeking healthcare providers online, just as they seek insurers. If your business doesn’t have an online presence, it could seriously impact your bottom line. Businesses should make sure to invest in a website, and even a blog, that provides clear information on the practice group—including specialties, experience and success stories.
“If you aren’t online, you aren’t going to be found, which will make it more and more difficult for a small practice to continue to survive,” Bollinger says.
Consumers will be educating themselves on services and comparing different physicians now more than ever. Bollinger recommends touting your practice’s patient-centric approach by providing doctor bios, awards, experience and patient testimonials.
“As doctors juggle to attract the right patient, they’ve got to put their best foot forward and educate the consumers as to why they should be the provider of choice,” she says.
Electronic medical records (EMR) are a new standard in healthcare. Partnering with an EMR provider can streamline the record-keeping process. “Find the right electronic medical partner and adopt IT solutions,” Bollinger says. “The services do not have to be expensive, but they get those administrative tasks into the hands of administrative people.”
Tapping into your bank’s financial services such as an online cash flow management tool or online payroll can also help you minimize the time and resources dedicated to running the business side of your practice.
Ultimately, the changing landscape of the healthcare industry can be a shot in the arm for advancing your business. Streamlining your practices can help you take advantage of opportunities as they arise in the evolving healthcare market.
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