The holidays aren't quite upon us, but I'm happy to announce an early and exciting gift for you. Beginning next Monday, FiercePracticeManagement will expand from a weekly to a daily newsletter!
Much has changed in the world of physician practice management since we published our first issue in the spring of 2010, when the ink on the Affordable Care Act legislation was barely dry. Back then (though not that long ago, really), ICD-10 implementation seemed distant and hypothetical, healthcare organizations were just starting to use (and misuse) social media and rampant confusion surrounding accountable care organizations (ACOs) earned them the nickname "any consultant's opportunity."
Today, the annual uncertainty over the sustainable growth rate is finally over, yet the industry's transition to value-based reimbursement remains incomplete, with most practices and health systems functioning, so to speak, with a foot in each canoe.
More than ever, physicians are finding themselves at a crossroads between staying independent and becoming employed by a hospital--and those who choose the former are increasingly forging new paths into alternative practice models. Employed physicians (and the hospitals and systems managing their practices) have a whole new set of factors to consider.
Meanwhile, healthcare consumers and industry pressures are demanding more transparent information about the cost of care. Patients are increasingly turning to the Internet to learn and talk about health cost and quality, even though much of what's available amounts to guesstimates and opinion, from all types of sources, without clear lines separating conjecture from fact.
On the public health front, we've survived Ebola but are just beginning to address opioid abuse. There's a lot of rhetoric about elevating the role of primary care to proactively handle chronic disease, but the ideal of keeping people healthy remains somewhat at odds with the business realities of healthcare.
And that's just the beginning.
All of these emerging, ongoing and contradictory trends are a lot to keep up with, though they have direct implications for your practice and patients every day. So the time is right for us to step up the volume and frequency with which we keep you informed.
In the meantime, I hope you enjoy two in-depth special reports included in this week's issue: ICD-10: What the new code set means for payers and providers and ACA-driven malpractice liability: 3 new areas of risk. As always, keep the feedback coming as to how we can best help you navigate this complex and high-stakes era of practice management. - Deb (@PracticeMgt)