How physician offices are adapting in a global pandemic

Challenged by COVID-19, non-acute healthcare facilities are following new trends to help manage a shifting environment.

By Medline Newsroom Staff | February 11, 2021

While COVID-19 has challenged the healthcare supply chain, physician offices are adapting their operations to ensure patient safety, expand access to care, and provide patients with a better care experience.

“In the physician office market where providers play a vital role in everyday patient care, several trends have emerged during the pandemic that is changing how practices operate,” says Scott Wakser, vice president of Physician Office Corporate Accounts at Medline. “One of the timeliest trends we are seeing is a shift from utilizing third-party labs to bringing lab services into the physician’s office. With in-house lab capabilities, physicians can provide patients with faster test results – delivered during the appointment – enabling immediate diagnosis and treatment. The result is better patient care and a better testing experience while reducing turnaround time for results.”

Onsite testing helps patients to better protect themselves from the pandemic, but it also positions care providers to better monitor the tremendous number of U.S. patients with chronic conditions like diabetes and hypertension. According to the CDC, chronic diseases represent $3.8 trillion, or 90% of the country’s annual healthcare expenditure as 60% of Americans live with one chronic disease.

Here are the top five trends Mr. Wakser identified as reshaping the physician office market:

  1. Moving lab in-house – Primary care offices will continue to bring lab services in-house to improve turnaround time and expedite treatment, as patients strive to better understand their care needs related to chronic conditions such as hypertension, high cholesterol, arthritis, and diabetes, among others.
  2. Growth of community health – Community Health Centers will continue to play an expanding role in supporting the health care needs of communities in need as COVID-19 strains the nation’s health system.
  3. Market consolidation – Large healthcare entities like managed care organizations, accountable care organizations, and hospital systems are driving market consolidation, with 50% of hospital administrators indicating they expect to make one or more acquisitions in the next two years as they seek greater scale, according to a recent Bain & Company survey. According to the survey, urgent care clinics and independent physician practices are top targets with 69% of physicians in independent practices open to being acquired.
  4. Rise of Urgent Care – Driven by consumer demand for more flexible and affordable healthcare options that are immediately available, urgent care and retail clinics are the market’s fastest-growing segments.
  5. Competitive disruption to heat up – Competition between independent physician offices and retail clinics will continue in the coming year as consumers seek more flexible treatment options for non-critical care.

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Categories: Infection Prevention

Medline Newsroom Staff

Medline Newsroom Staff

Medline's newsroom staff researches and reports on the latest news and trends in healthcare.

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