Three Developments Impacting Providers in 2017

Automation in the provider’s office took different forms in 2017, impacting providers and patients. Whether it was an improvement in, or better integration of, revenue cycle management solutions or more effective ways to communicate with patients, automation was a hot topic. Another area addressed below, incorporates wearable health devices and the data they collect. Automating the collection of this information and bringing it into the practice is important. Applying these solutions remains a challenge for providers simply because their core competency is not technology implementation.

Consumerism continues to grow every year: Healthcare consumers have become more demanding and savvy as the availability of health information on the internet continues to grow. Technology is driving consumerism with lower prices for wearable, self-monitoring devices. For providers, this means balancing these sources of information with your training and expertise during treatment. Patients are demanding to be part of the provider-office experience and they’re doing it by bringing third-party and first-hand information. In 2018, consumerism will continue to grow as patients take a more personal interest in their health and wellness.

Marketplace uncertainty continues to dog providers as politics and healthcare collide. Providers should continue to monitor the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and bundled payments, which were among the most significant, fluctuating issues of 2017. Will the ACA be completely repealed and replaced, partially dismantled or modified? Will bundled payments return? Automation and consumerism caused uncertainty as providers had to decide whether to enter the fray or possibly be left behind.

Automation, consumerism and marketplace uncertainty are just a few of the challenges providers faced in 2017. There are many unknowns as 2017 closes and we anticipate 2018. In 2018, I expect these issues will remain significant and continue to grow, along with others, including technology.
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