By Stephen Tweed
What’s in store for you and your company in 2014? What’s your vision for your company in the coming year? What are the forces and trends that will shape your business in the coming year?
We know that 2014 will be full of challenges, from the implementation of the Affordable Care Act to Medicare reimbursements cuts and changes in Medicaid across the country. The private pay market will continue to grow, but slowly as owners approach cautiously health care reform and the changes in the federal overtime exemption. We also know that 2014 will be full of opportunities for those home care business leaders that are able to see a clear vision of the future and take strategic action to move their agencies forward.
Forces and Trends for 2014
Forces are those pressures that cause change. Trends are the patterns of change that are caused by the forces. Together, they shape the environment in which your agency or your association operates. As leaders, we must always be paying attention to these forces and trends and asking ourselves how they will affect us strategically.
Over the past 30 years, we’ve identified Five Forces Affecting Your Future in the business environment:
- Economic pressures
- Consumer choice
- Demographic change
- Political change
Here at Leading Home Care, part of our role is to monitor those forces and trends and help you see how they might affect you. Then we’ll offer strategic guidance on how you can fulfill your Mission and Vision and create Competitive Advantage in your local marketplace.
The economy continues to be the biggest outside pressure affecting the growth of home care and hospice, and there are several specific economic trends that will affect you this coming year.
- Implementation of Health Care Reform will bring additional cuts in Medicare reimbursement for home health and hospice
- The increase in Accountable Care Organizations will affect the way dollars flow to health care providers and especially to post-acute care
- Continued volatility in the stock market will cause high net worth individuals to be cautious about spending their own money for private duty home care
- Increased taxes will affect every business in the health care sector
Consumers continue to take control of their health care decision making. They are better informed than ever before as a result of access to information via the internet. They are asking tough questions, bringing raised expectations, and holding providers accountable. Here are some trends in consumer choice:
- Increasing competition in home health, hospice, and private duty home care is leaving some consumers feeling like newcomers to a Chinese menu. There are too many choices and they don’t know what any of them mean. That leads to confusion and indecision.
- Increasing marketing of home care and hospice services means that consumers are much more aware of the availability of in-home care than ever before.
- Increased awareness also leads to increased caution as the news media provide wider coverage of traumatic experiences with in-home caregivers. Consumers will be looking more closely at how in-home care providers recruit, select, and train their caregivers.
One of the most significant pressures causing change in home care and hospice is technology. We’ve divided our look at technology into two major areas; medical technology and information technology. Here are some technology trends that are affecting you now.
- Faster, cheaper, easier to use. I just bought a new iPad Mini. It’s amazing what it will do. We’ll see more in-home care companies using tablets and smart phones in a variety of ways to communicate, document, and demonstrate.
- Evidence Based Care will continue to grow in importance as clinicians have more access to facts and data to help treat specific diseases. The growth in chronic conditions and the program to reduce hospital re-admissions will cause us to look more at these facts and data to develop post-acute care protocols.
- Specialty pharmaceuticals will continue to expand our ability to provide care at home as new drugs administered with new delivery vehicles are introduced.
More Trends Coming Your Way
For more information on the latest trends in home health care, hospice, and private duty home care, subscribe to our Leading Home Care Report newsletter. In each issue we will give you links back to the latest blog posts on all three of our blogs – Home Health Care Today, Private Duty Today, and Caregiver Quality Today – so you can stay up to date with what is happening in each sector of the home health marketplace. You can update your subscription preferences as well.
Best wishes for a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year!