6 Healthcare Business Trends to Watch in 2014

With the dawn of the New Year, we’re facing some of the biggest, most important changes in recent healthcare history. Not only is the massive ICD-10 implementation upon us, but Meaningful Use initiatives continue to prevail. In addition, six more emerging trends promise to have a significant impact on the way healthcare organizations approach business — and financial — operations.

  1. Going beyond clinical Big Data. Just as clinical data helps target care delivery, organizations must realize that financial and administrative data can be used to improve the revenue cycle. There’s no question that healthcare organizations are collecting data that can be put to good use. Now is the time to implement the tools that turn information into action — strengthening billing, collections and overall financial operations.
  2. Merging clinical and financial information. Once organizations realize the perks of going beyond clinical Big Data, they should consider a more consolidated view that combines both clinical information with financial and demographic data to reduce revenue risk. This collaborative effort means better informed patient financial counseling and more accurate coding and claims filing for optimized care delivery and financial operations.
  3. Rethinking the revenue cycle. Healthcare organizations are under increasing pressure to control costs and improve the bottom line while delivering high quality care. By using data and analytics to clearly understand the health of your organization, organizations are able to improve operational process and make smarter business decisions. This results in an enhanced revenue cycle and better positions healthcare organizations to carry out their mission — caring for patients.
  4. Overcoming the continued increase in patient financial responsibility. This year will bring a continued increase in the number of self-pay patients, as well as those with high-deductible insurance. Data-driven tools improve the front- and back-end of the revenue cycle by quantifying patient payment responsibility, identifying patients that qualify for financial assistance, revealing errors that impact billing and even detecting fraud at registration.
  5. Understanding collections through the patient lens. Patients’ perceptions of their hospital experiences — reflected in HCAHPS scores — will play an increasingly larger role in value-based care. That means random collections efforts will have no place in 2014. Going forward, compassionate collections driven by robust data and analytics that provide a better understanding of your unique patient population must be the standard, rather than the exception.
  6. Protecting the patient experience. With a growing focus on consumer empowerment and engagement, healthcare organizations need to enhance the entire patient experience. From preventing patient identity theft to enabling compassionate financial discussions and safeguarding the exchange of health information, healthcare organizations must make it easier for patients to access information, while still ensuring data privacy and security.

The challenges of every New Year create a perfect opening to seize fresh opportunities. In 2014, data and analytics will give healthcare organizations new ways to improve financial operations and the patient experience at every encounter. What are your top concerns for 2014?