Disclaimer: This blog article was written by an AdvancedMD partner. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of AdvancedMD.
The healthcare industry has become increasingly more competitive in the last five years. The sheer amount of competition between healthcare practices makes it difficult for small practices to beat out the rest and attract new patients. As more and more healthcare businesses look toward the future, many are concerned with how they can remain competitive while managing patient expectations.
So Weave commissioned an independent market research firm to study 360 healthcare providers and 1,047 patients to create a Healthcare Business Insights report for 2023. So here are some of the top findings that will serve as a deep insight into the challenges and trends facing healthcare providers in 2023 and beyond.
1. Offering Payment Plans and Financing
The inflation trend that impacted many practices in 2022 is abating somewhat in 2023, though practices are continuing to feel the pinch of increased costs in their business combined with constraints on revenue due to insurance billing contracts. According to Weave’s survey, 51% of practices have raised their prices in the last 90 days, while 49% of practices plan to raise prices in 2023.
Patients are impacted most of all by these economic shifts. A large portion of healthcare providers (67%) are already seeing patients delay care due to economic concerns and the potential of a recession.
In light of this, practices should anticipate increased patient interest in pricing and payment plans. Offering a Buy-Now, Pay-over-time payment plan can help patients get needed care sooner while allowing a practice to stand out from its competition. 31% of providers are already seeing an increase in patients using a payment plan.
2. Patients Are Raising the Bar for Small Practices
In 2023, patients will continue to raise the bar on their healthcare providers in terms of digital-first communications and in-office expectations. Weave found that 52% of providers say they think patient expectations have increased since the pandemic.
The pandemic ushered in a major shift in the quality of care practices are providing their patients. According to last year’s survey, 48% of small healthcare practices say their quality of care has improved because of COVID-19 and the extra measures and personal touches they began implementing
Another main reason patient expectations are rising is the “convenience economy” trend overall that accelerated businesses’ overall adoption of technology to drive more convenient experiences for consumers. The drive-up pickup for retail, the app-driven delivery boom for online shopping and restaurants, as well as the curbside check-in for healthcare practices, are all examples of these convenience-driven trends that have taken root in consumers’ minds.
Healthcare practices are keeping up with the increasing patient demand for convenience but will need to continue to modernize and adopt new technology as that trend shows no sign of stopping. Factors like digital paperwork, quick communication, marketing efforts, convenient payment methods, the look and feel of your practice, record management, or the way your team greets your patients all play a role in the patient experience
3. Staffing Challenges Show No Sign of Letting Up
If running a healthcare practice isn’t hard enough, many small practices do so with a small number of team members. The majority of providers have 10-50 employees in their offices and the day-to-day operations fall onto the ones who work there full time. In 2022, staffing shortages were a major hurdle for most healthcare providers.
According to Weave’s study, 76% of small healthcare practices had 25% of their staff leave in 2022. On top of this, 58% of providers agree that compared to a year ago, front-desk staff has less time to help clients because they’re spending more time dealing with other issues.
One way to combat an overburdened front desk and combat being short-staffed is to use software that can make life easier. Tools like appointment reminders and online scheduling save time during the day and keep everyone on the same page. 65% said that having the latest tech makes it easier to retain good employees.
Another major factor in a practice’s staffing retention is compensation. 30% of healthcare workers left their job because they were unhappy with compensation. Plans to increase or decrease wages along with the cost of services will be greatly influenced by the economy and how busy a practice gets. No matter who stays on your team and who you decide to hire, compensation is a major area of concern for healthcare workers and should be handled with care.
4. Software Investment is Critical for Reaching Multi-Generational Patient Bases
Although 98% of providers say that technology is important to providing a great client/patient experience and increasing revenue, 46% of offices haven’t updated their office technology in over two years.
Patients want options when it comes to how they can communicate with their healthcare providers. When asked about preferences for appointment reminders, 76% of patients prefer receiving appointment reminders via text message versus phone calls, emails, or other, and 94% of providers agree that a text message reminder makes patients more likely to show up for their appointment.
To cover a wide variety of patient types, healthcare providers should offer all modalities and be flexible when it comes to patient communication. Utilizing all modalities and communication types is also a preference when it comes to paying bills and showing up for appointments. Weave found that 45% of patients would be more likely to quickly pay a healthcare invoice if they receive a text invoice with a link to pay.
Investing in new tech will also help attract Millennials and Gen-Z professionals to your practice and keep your business fresh, on top of giving your patients a better experience. When a practice invests in new pieces of technology it shows you care about your business and keeping up with the market. Patients will be more likely to refer their friends/family if they know your business is competitive and not falling behind.
The healthcare industry is constantly changing, so it’s important for healthcare providers to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and best practices. In 2023, some of the most important trends for healthcare providers include offering payment plans and financing, meeting patients’ digital expectations, investing in staff training and development, and developing a strong marketing strategy. By following these trends, healthcare providers can help their practices grow and thrive in the coming year.
In addition to the trends mentioned above, it’s also important for healthcare providers to invest in new technology. Technology can help providers improve the patient experience, increase revenue, and attract younger patients. By following these insights, healthcare providers can help their practices grow and thrive in 2023.
Weave is an all-in-one customer communication platform for small healthcare businesses and is a partner of AdvancedMD. From the first phone call to the final invoice and every touchpoint in between, Weave connects the entire customer journey. Weave’s software solutions transform how local businesses attract, communicate with and engage customers to grow their business.
To see the full study referenced throughout this article, read the free ebook here.