Top 2 Trends for Orthopedic Practices to Prepare for in 2023
By Chloe from Clearwave | March 6, 2023
The healthcare industry is evolving rapidly, and orthopedic practices must keep up with the latest trends to ensure growth. In 2023, orthopedic practices must be prepared to face two significant trends in particular that will shape the industry. By preparing for these trends, orthopedic practices can stay competitive, improve patient outcomes and accelerate revenue results.
1. The Reimbursement Challenge
Due to new regulations and policy changes, reimbursements will get more challenging for practices and patients. Orthopedic practices will find it more and more difficult to receive timely reimbursements, if they receive any at all.
Due to these changes, orthopedic physicians and surgeons will see an 8.5% cut to Medicare reimbursements. The responsibility would be left to patients for payment and practitioners for collection, which can greatly impact and possibly endanger cash flow statements across the orthopedic sector.
Orthopedic clinics have become accustomed to similar reductions over time, since physician payment under Medicare has decreased 20% over the previous 20 years.
In addition to reimbursement shifts, VantageScore, a leading credit-score modeler, recently announced that it will no longer include medical-collection information in the equation to determine a person’s creditworthiness. Although this shift is good for patients who are trying to get a car loan or apply for an apartment, it will likely reduce the amount of payments practices receive due to a reduced sense of urgency.
Along with reimbursement shifts, telehealth adoption, new government regulations, economic volatility and other changes to the healthcare landscape, practice leaders must take action to minimize profit leakage.
Best Ways to Prepare Your Practice
First, orthopedic clinics should consider automating their eligibility verification process.
Automating eligibility verification will reduce the amount of rejected claims and safeguard practices against coverage gaps in order to protect both themselves and their patients. Automation also relieves strain on practice personnel who would otherwise have to manually verify insurance information, follow up with insurance providers for status updates, or reissue claims after a typing error – all of which can immensely drain valuable staff time.
A digitally driven eligibility verification tool can automatically detect possible issues and flag them at the time of scheduling or check-in, allowing employees to concentrate their follow-up exclusively in situations where a problem is suspected. Automatic eligibility signals allow staff to assist patients in finding alternate payment methods before appointments, if necessary. Both the staff, who are relieved of time-consuming and laborious follow-up, and patients, who can relax knowing there won’t be any needless financial shocks post appointment, benefit from this strategy. In the end, this tool benefits your business by offering you a dependable means to assist your patients, employees, and cash flow.
Beyond eligibility verification, practices must find ways to enable faster time to revenue. Increasing point-of-service collections is a top starting place to consider. If you want to learn more about how your practice can unlock hidden revenue during patient check-in, view Clearwave’s webinar to learn a strategy that resulted in shorter wait times and nearly immediate revenue results.
2. The Digital-First Patient Experience is Bringing in More Patients for Competitive Practices
Patients are accustomed to digital experiences in almost every aspect of life, from scheduling grocery pick-up orders and online shopping to paying bills.
When considering strategies for patient acquisition and retention, healthcare organizations need to carefully evaluate the influence of technology. 89% of US adults state that “Ease of Access” is a major factor when choosing healthcare providers. This decision maker is especially important to take into account for orthopedic practices, where patients may have a variety of local and regional alternatives to select from. Orthopedic practitioners must reconsider their strategy for patient acquisition and retention if they want to compete for patients and grow their practice.
Best Ways to Prepare Your Practice
For a better understanding of how automation affects the patient experience, evaluate your practice’s patient interaction touchpoints. Increased patient scheduling options can allow you to gain more loyal patients, considering 67% of patients prefer online booking. Simply providing 24/7 online scheduling, opens the opportunity for potential patients to find and book at your practice, over competition. Reach your patients where they are (online) and when they’re looking for appointments (247) so you can beat out competition who may only book over the phone during business hours.
Patients are busy, so having to make all of their appointment bookings over the phone exclusively during business hours will be a challenge. Studies have shown that 40% of appointments are actually booked after business hours. Patients want to be able to arrange appointments independently, whenever it suits them, and as quickly and precisely as possible.
Most patients also want their appointments to be scheduled in a timely manner. Think of a parent who just got a referral from their doctor for orthopedic consultation, they don’t want to wait weeks for their child to be seen.
When patients are told that the earliest day they can be seen is in weeks or more, they will look elsewhere. In a recent poll by the Orthopedic Journal of Sports Medicine, 37% of patients stated that if a provider informs them there are no appointments available for two weeks, they are most likely to go elsewhere, while 41% stated that four weeks was their threshold. To combat this challenge, provide your patients with a waitlist they can use to become NextUp for an appointment that fits their needs. A patient waitlist can allow your practice to quickly fill last-minute openings, making your providers and your patients happy, while increasing realized revenue.
To improve your patient’s digital experience with your office, evaluate your patient communications approach. In this digital age, many patients are accustomed to communicating through text and email, and will often choose this method when given an option, when compared to traditional phone-to-phone communication. In order to reduce no-shows, minimize lapsed patients and increase income, your practice needs to go beyond the conventional postcard or phone call reminders. Use custom text, email and phone reminders to keep patients coming in on time and automate appointment recalls to bring back existing patients!
It’s important to re-examine your patient communications strategy as it may be time to adapt it to the needs of your patients.
See all 6 Trends Causing Orthopedic Leaders to Act
See the other four trends that are leading orthopedic healthcare leaders to take action against. Download the full guide to see all 6 trends and how to adjust your 2023 patient revenue strategy.
Consider a comprehensive patient revenue platform™ that will help your practice enable faster time to revenue while providing the experience your patients require. Learn more.
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