|Economy, Health Reform Defining Trends
The impact of the recession and healthcare reform are
the driving forces behind many of the 2010 top 10 trends in healthcare,
highlighted by increased momentum in efficiency and integration,
quality improvement, cost reduction and information technology.
Those are the findings of The Camden Group, a Los Angeles-based healthcare business advisory company.
Despite the challenges of last year’s economy,
"brutal" recession and lingering aftermath, opportunities are there for
the taking for "smart players that can adapt quickly to rapidly
changing realities," said Steven T. Valentine, The Camden Group
president. "Healthcare reform is of course the elephant in the corner
right now, and the entire industry is anxiously waiting to see how
reform really pans out ..."
The company cited 10 industry trends expected to
accelerate this year, including four that significantly impact
physician and hospitals payments and performances. They are:
1. Primary care physicians stand to gain significantly under healthcare
legislation, often at the expense of specialists and subspecialists.
That’s because the legislation emphasizes medical home and
accountable care organizations. Subsequently, hospitals will move to
bundle payments, pursue clinical integration and respond to value-based
purchasing programs and employ more primary care and specialty
physicians to enhance access and enhance care coordination. Physicians
will continue to show preference for hospital employment, leading to
greater physician-hospital alignment.
2. Clinical integration will become the gold standard
of medical care as new federal and health plan guidelines dictate it.
Integrated models reinforce the industry mantra of increasing
efficiency, lowering costs and improving outcomes.
3. Acceleration of implementation of technology,
notably clinical information systems, suchas computerized physician
order entry and EMRs. Healthcare reform legislation includes both
financial rewards and penalties to ensure the adoption of clinical IT
4. Greater focus on P4P programs, evolving to include
both quality and cost metrics. These new P4P strictures include both
financial carrots and sticks to "encourage" providers to increase
quality and safety, and improve patient outcomes. Underscoring this new
era of accountability, expect to see increased transparency through
public posting of quality and patient safety data.
Other trends include:
- Changes in Medicaid, Medicare and Disproportionate
Share Hospital reimbursement payments as the rates move closer to
Medicare levels over the next few years.
- High unemployment, depressing demand for healthcare
services and keeping bad debt levels high. Charity care and indigent
levels will also continue to increase.
- Institutions that cannot survive will be acquired, converted to alternative care, or closed altogether.
- More unionization of healthcare employees coupled
with a push for mandated staffing ratios among nurses and allied health
professionals. This will lead to more demand for these professionals,
their training and recruitment.
- More focus on capital expenditures on core competencies, such as IT infrastructure, revenue generating equipment and services.
- Patients will seek value and preferred brands as they get more power over their health purchasing decisions.
Address: The Camden Group, 100 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Suite 600, El Segundo, CA 90245; (310) 320-3990, www.TheCamdenGroup.com.