Looking Into My Crystal Ball – Healthcare Predictions for 2015

How can we end the year without noting healthcare trends as we head into 2015? The earth might fall off its axis
without such observations! Here are my predictions:

EHR Systems
Love ‘em or hate ‘em (and I know there are lots of folks in the latter category), they are here to stay. The companies selling them do a better job on the sales front than the servicing front, and therein lies most of the problem. In the best cases, we are seeing some operational efficiencies emerging with coding and workflow improving. On the other end of the spectrum, the data mining features of the systems are giving practices fits as they try to get their arms around their quality metrics.

The end of fee-for-service medicine is just around the corner, just like it was 30 years ago. In other words, we are heading away from this scheme, but fee-for-service will remain a dominant feature of our healthcare system for years to come. What we are seeing is more movement toward the bundling of services. This bundling allows payers to better compare one provider’s fees to another’s and will drive up provider competition and down the charges ultimately paid.

As we watch the second round of enrollments coming online, we see more competition in Colorado for Medicaid patients. This trend is driven by the Medicaid expansion that raised reimbursement rates to match Medicare rates. With all the angst and worry about how the ACA would impact the delivery and payment of care, the law’s impact is falling largely on practices that care for low-income patients. In Colorado, there are many practices that don’t fit in this category.

So that’s a quick look into my crystal ball. What do you see when you look into 2015?

Blog post by Andrew Graham, Clinic Service President

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