Dinosaurs get a bad rap. Conventional wisdom says they were cold-blooded, had small brains, and were incapable of adapting to rapid climate change following a cataclysmic asteroid impact. The lessons for businesses? Move faster. Work smarter. Adapt.
But let’s face it: Keeping up with the rapidly changing climate in the world of healthcare is hard. Regulations change, reporting requirements grow, and healthcare consumers demand high-quality, convenient, and affordable care — or they’ll potentially take their business elsewhere.
What’s a practice to do? How about learning from the dinosaurs!
Lesson 1: You don’t have to stop doing the things that have made your practice a success.
If dinosaurs were as incapable of change as conventional wisdom suggests, The Age of Reptiles would not have lasted some 180 million years. The point is that the things your practice has done have great value. The key to helping ensure that value endures is carefully studying the changing business climate and making key changes:
Master data analysis and reporting challenges
Embrace solutions like electronic scribing that make daily documentation easier
Join national networks for fast, on-demand exchange of the latest patient records
Ensure providers and staff are well trained on the EHR features they use daily
Past successes aren’t the problem. The problem is assuming that success will continue without any change on your part.
Lesson 2: You’re more adaptable than you think. No single event is likely to lead to failure.
Advances in paleontology have found dinosaurs were more adaptable than previously thought. An asteroid impact 66 million years ago contributed to their demise, but increasing volcanic activity and declining genetic diversity were also factors.
The lesson for today’s practices is that even the most dramatic changes in healthcare — such as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the 2009 HITECH Act, and ongoing revisions to MACRA/MIPS requirements and reimbursements — introduce change gradually.
Practices have time to adapt by taking advantage of new products and services — for Population Health, Patient Engagement, and Revenue Cycle Management. Even a small investment in new tools and training can make a big difference.
Lesson 3: Projecting a good image helps.
The 1993 blockbuster Jurassic Park took a quirky idea and turned it into a franchise that has generated billions of dollars in revenue. Dinosaurs’ reputations went from bumbling, lumbering victims to smart, adaptable survivors.
With a little work on their image — including a stronger website and online presence — medical practices can also project a more positive image and grow their business. On-site training, along with the right marketing tools — videos, posters, and how-to cards for patients to take home — can build patient loyalty to your franchise.
The bottom line: If you suspect a bit of dinosaur DNA lurks in your organizational structure, don’t panic. With the right healthcare IT, appropriate training, and a bit of creativity, you can adapt to changing business conditions and meet the challenges of 21st-century healthcare.
For example, Dr. Amar Shah knew his practice was doing well, and had good strategies in place for continued growth. But Dr. Shah wasn’t about to settle for good. He wanted great.