It’s a Buyer’s Market

LisaGouinBy Lisa Gouin, PCMH Services Manager, eHealthcare Consulting, Inc.
Twitter: @ehealthcareorg

The phrase “it’s a buyer’s market” is predominantly used in the real estate business, not healthcare. However, for many practices and healthcare organizations, it appears to be the perfect narrative for our changing healthcare landscape.

Patients may look to see if you have recently “remodeled” your practice. Perhaps you have made upgrades in technology such as an EHR, a Patient Portal or Health Information Exchanges. Possibly, you have updated to a Patient-Centered Medical Home or implemented a quality improvement program.

Patients will want to ensure that your practice doesn’t just have curb appeal, but that it is built with a solid foundation of friendly, knowledgeable care team members that truly care about their individual health and wellbeing and provides them with the highest quality care available. Your patients may be seeking education to help them make better decisions in their healthcare, self-management support or perhaps care management services for their chronic illnesses.

Patients desire their provider’s office to feel like home, where they receive compassionate, coordinated, whole person care, and treated like a member of the family.

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will be performing your appraisal using the MIPS program to determine your value, based on their inspection of your quality program scores. Be sure to thoroughly review your appraisal data to determine if there are areas where additions or upgrades may be made in your practice to avoid any future costly repairs. Making the investment up front will provide your practice the most equity in the future.

If a patient decides they would like to upgrade to a new home, they may visit the CMS Physician Compare website, where they can essentially “shop” for a new provider based on quality data published by Medicare. Any provider that accepts Medicare beneficiaries will be listed on Physician Compare.

As patients become more involved as partners in their own healthcare and outcomes, it is apparent that patient satisfaction is more important than ever. They will be looking for a healthcare team that is patient-centered and performing high quality services, they won’t be shopping for a fixer-upper!

If your practice hasn’t already begun to renovate, now is definitely the time to start. You can’t just throw on a fresh layer of paint and call it good any more. There are many tools available to you, including a hefty user’s manual expected to be released in November 2016, to assist in these renovations. You may need to hire a contractor, experts in fields such as MACRA/MIPS, Patient-Centered Medical Home, Revenue Cycle Management or Health Information Technology to assist in those jobs that may not be do-it-yourself tasks. Now is the time to prepare in order to not only succeed, but excel in this buyer’s market.