Healthcare Business Priorities for 2018

As the month of January comes to an end I’m looking at what is to come and what should be the Healthcare Business Priorities for 2018.

MACRA. For those that see Medicare patients and fall under Medicare’s new quality payment program we cannot under emphasize the need to report 2017 measures before March 31, 2018. At the same time, we strongly recommend starting to track the data for 2018 and staying in touch as these measures are already changing and we will not know the final 2018 measures for a while.

Business Plan. Healthcare Business Priorities for 2018 are not the same of the past. The market, legislation and technology are forcing us to evolve or face extinction. Yet; what is the best approach that you should take? How can we increase the odds of success? Every time we look at a new business, organization and healthcare provider we conduct a survey regarding:

  • Population trends
  • Competition
  • Potential Opportunities

There is no one answer that will fit everyone and it is very possible that what works now will not work in the future. So, the best possible advice at this time is to simply conduct a business plan and consider the options. After all; how can you get anywhere if you don’t know your goal?

Marketing. This is a topic full of pitfalls and opportunities. The right marketing efforts will increase visibility to your business which in turn will result in more business. The problem is that most people don’t know how or what to market. My own personal opinion is to start with a website. A good website will save money as it relates to compliance requirements while at the same increase visibility to your customers. A great website will even bring additional revenue to your business.

Once you get your marketing in line, look at social networks. With social network we are not talking about the act of creating a Facebook page and then letting it die. There is an art in terms of how to create a message that potential customers will follow. Also, there are quite a few social networks, so you need to know where to post and what to post in order to make sure you get a dividend for your efforts.

Of course, there are also issues like branding, print media, blogs, presentation and so much more that your head will be spinning trying to figure it all out. However, this is very important and may be one of those things that could make your business succeed or fail.

Security. Security is the next priority that should be in your radar at all times. Right now, in addition to HIPAA, there are quite a few other legislations and Government agencies that require that healthcare Providers and support organizations conduct a HIPAA Security Risk Analysis on an annual basis. There are also quite a few audits that rely on the completion of a Security Risk Analysis as a base for their evaluations. Even MACRA requires that a HIPAA Security Risk Analysis be completed or risk losing points which may then result in a reduction in reimbursement.

But in addition to all of those requirements there is another reason for a Security Risk Analysis which is better known as cybercrime. The healthcare industry is being pushed into a technological state of business that is simply not secure. Cybercriminals are also becoming quite sophisticated with seemingly better equipment and software resources than your average healthcare professional. The point is not to be afraid, but own the process. Use the risk analysis for what it is intended to do, find potential risks within your organization. Once you find the risks, don’t sit on them until next year. Investigate the needed resources and alternatives to minimize the risk and then do something about it.

Again, you do not need to know it all, nor do you need to work on everything at the same time. As a matter of fact, I recommend these simple steps for every one of the topics previously mentioned:

  1. Learn more about it;
  2. Find resources or an expert to assist;
  3. Develop a plan;
  4. Implement the plan;
  5. Reassess the situation.

Another alternative would be to attend activities like the EPI Compliance and Healthcare Innovation Conference as these activities cover the topics you need to know about. Even better, they bring the experts to you.

Whatever you decide to do, take control and decide upon what your Healthcare Business Priorities for 2018 are and do something about them.