Dr. Peter Schoch, SVP of Population Health at AdventHealth, made a bold statement we can get behind in a recent conversation with Kno2’s Alex Kohn and Kno2 Connected partner Net Health. Dr. Schoch said, “Let us stop apologizing that healthcare is a business; it is a business. To stay in business and provide the care we feel called to provide to a community of consumers that need our services we must optimize efficiency, expense, clinical outcomes, and revenue. This has never been truer than today. We cannot ignore the economic drivers impacting the entirety of the healthcare ecosystem including Physical Therapy.”

Today we share five key business drivers leading PT providers and clinics to prioritize connectivity – meaningful connectivity, at that – to enhance their relevance and success in today’s changing healthcare landscape.

1. Health Systems Expect Connectivity to Facilitate Referrals

Hospitals and health systems were early mandatory adopters of interoperability through meaningful use and are now looking to maximize its favorable impact on workflows, P & L, and outcomes. They want to do business with you digitally and benefit from the bidirectional digital sharing of critical clinical information. Your ability to accept referrals digitally ensures timely referrals, timely discharges, and better clinical outcomes.

2. Administrative Burnout and Turnover in Physical Therapy is Unsustainable

It is common for therapy practices to need at least one (often more) FTEs to manage all the paperwork coming into and out of the practice. Given the current pressures for performance the ability to streamline workflows allows your people to focus on patients not paperwork and historic manual processes. Being connected means it’s possible to work smarter not harder and do more with less from digitizing referrals to signing care plans.

3. Fax Machines Cost Money

Cost is relative and so is benefit. Fax is clearly cheaper and faster than mail. But faster, less expensive, and more impactful still is digital exchange. When therapy providers can port their existing fax infrastructure to online, internet-connected solutions (with extraordinarily little cost or spend, as Alex points out), there is just no good business reason to continue using clunky physical fax machines.

4. Patients Need Easier Transitions of Care to Comply With PT

It is important that we collectively start treating patients as consumers…not to deprioritize their physical ailments, but rather to deliver the kind of service that is expected and required to stay relevant in shifting models that empower patients with choice for their care. Making things easier for patients is key, and certainly optimizing the referral process for a smooth handoff from the referring provider is top of mind. Patients are not asking for interoperability. They are asking for coordinated safe and timely care. However, this is only possible through meaningful connectivity.

5. Value-Based Care Will Be the Norm

Sure, physical therapy providers may not be themselves directly beholden to capitation models, but their referral sources are. As payment models shift toward value-based care and outcomes-based reimbursement models, no provider in the care continuum is exempt from participation whether through capitated arrangements, value-based purchasing programs, bundled payment models or simply through MIPS.  The meaningful exchange of clinical information in the workflow of providers is foundational to success in these models.  Future proof your business by jumpstarting meaningful connectivity with simple solutions like Direct Secure Messaging or cloud faxing to stay relevant, keep patients coming through your doors and ensure success in value-based arrangements.