3 Key Healthcare and Medical Billing Trends to Watch For

While COVID-19 vaccines are reportedly becoming more widely available to the general public, there’s no denying that the effects of the virus we’ve been dealing with for more than a year will continue to be felt across every industry, especially within healthcare. Calling for physicians, hospitals, and medical billing groups to fundamentally pivot their operations to deal with COVID-19. 

2021 is looking to be a year of much-needed recovery, but the full impact from COVID-19 will continue to evolve. To provide some guidance and direction on the healthcare industry for the remainder of 2021, we talked to the executive leadership team at AdvantEdge to provide insight into the impact of COVID-19 and what it means going forward. Based on thoughts provided by David Langsam, President & CEO, and Director of AdvantEdge Healthcare Solutions, below are the top 3 trends to watch out for:

1. Payer Mix

With unemployment rates skyrocketing, so did providers’ 2020 payer mix. As more payment responsibility falls to patients who went from insured to uninsured, we need to reflect and evaluate how we approach collections and patient satisfaction; it’s important to treat patients with the same client-first approach as companies do with their clients.

“The medical billing industry will need to treat patients with compassion, empathy, and a solution-based approach that enables them to meet their financial responsibility with dignity and satisfaction…When evaluating current operations to ensure the patient experience achieves these objectives, it’s important to take an in-depth look at your existing processes, vendors, and partnerships.

2. Encounter Volume

As the world continues to slowly get back to normal, look for encounter volumes to gradually increase. Even with telehealth services, almost 70% of physicians still provided fewer total visits (in-person and telehealth). It won’t be until restrictions ease, and social normalcy begins that these volumes will return to normal. If you are reassessing the capabilities and performance of your medical billing departments or vendors,

“…take a close look at billing performance from May through November, when elective surgeries were made available again, and encounter volumes were on the rise. This will help you validate that your operations or current billing partner are up to the task.” 

3. Telehealth 

Telehealth services exploded in 2020 due to advancements in technology, such as Zoom and other video conferencing platforms, and the need to continue interacting with healthcare professionals. Similar to remote work capabilities, expect telehealth services to continue to grow as patients and healthcare professionals witnessed the value of this offering. Many appointments that don’t require direct interaction, such as follow-up visits and initial consults, will continue to be leveraged by video conferencing platforms.

“As telehealth services grow, it will be more important that your staff or billing partner understand the nuances of telehealth coding and billing. Continue to have discussions with your billing department or medical billing partner on ongoing changes in telehealth, making sure you (or their) process and procedures are current.”

To learn more about medical billing and healthcare trends in 2021, we invite you to download our recent report on the state of healthcare, which provides more details on the top 3 trends and dives into topics such as remote staff, physician revenue loss, and regulations and compliance. To learn more, download our complimentary report: “Evaluating the Pandemic Impact on Medical Billing.