If you thought 2013 was a transitional year for health care, sit tight. Health care professionals and analysts predict 2014 to get even rockier as the Affordable Care Act becomes fully implemented. According to HealthLeaders Media Council, here are three buzzwords to look out for.
1. Flipping health care. No, this isn't a euphemism. It's a term that actually refers to completely changing the way health care is delivered. The idea was copied from the concept of "flipping the classroom" or changing the focus of the educational system. In essence, health care will focus more on what's convenient for patients. Additionally, providers will adopt a strategy that educates caregivers. For example, "flipping" approaches would mean focusing more on preventive care instead of only treating conditions. While many physicians already approach care in this way, the entire health care system is shifting to a more patient and quality of care style.
2. Financial harm. For many years, physicians have been familiar with the term "patient harm" when referring to a treatment that actually causes physical harm to the patient. Similarly, "financial harm" is a term health care professionals are using to refer to the stress of medical debt. Many physicians view financial harm as a tangible quality issue. Research indicates that medical debt is a leading cause of bankruptcy. To the extent possible, providers endeavor to protect patients from unnecessary testing and treatment with the same dedication as they protect patients from risky procedures and infections.
3. Billing optimization. This term directly relates to documentation and data integrity. Documentation is critical in billing. For example, ensuring that comorbidities, or disorders co-occurring with a primary disorder, are documented will substantially affect reimbursements in 2014. Billing optimization will help physicians and hospitals recoup some of the funds lost due to financial cuts and cost sharing.
Staying current with medical practice management advances not only affects patient care, but directly impacts the financial stability of your practice.