Survey also reveals practices show a fast recovery from the pandemic and the move to more customized care
IRVINE, Calif., July 26, 2021 – The Kareo 2021 State of the Independent Practice report, a semi-annual survey that has become a principal source of information on the under-studied independent healthcare arena, reveals a far more optimistic, dynamic and growth-oriented prediction for small to mid-sized practices than could have been foreseen at the beginning of 2020. Download the report here.
The survey data discovered:
- More than 50% of all independent practices emerged from 2020 with the number of patient visits the same (22%) or even higher (29%) than in 2019.
- 75% of independent medical practices expect to grow in 2021, up from 59% as reported in a previous Kareo survey conducted in 2019.
- Even more optimistically, practices expecting their patient loads to shrink in 2021 fell to less than half of the 2019 findings (6% in 2021 versus 14% in 2019).
According to the report, this positive outlook can be attributed to multiple factors, many of them involving technology.
Dan Rodrigues, founder and CEO of Kareo, a leading provider of cloud-based clinical and practice management software for independent practices, stated, “Early in 2020, independent practices, like all small businesses, were suffering with declining visits and revenues and in many cases, being forced to close their doors for weeks or often months. A pulse survey conducted by Kareo in June 2020 found that 75% of independent practice respondents reported a decline in patient volumes, threatening this critical segment of the healthcare industry.”
Rodrigues continued, “However, contrary to expectations, independent practices actually ended the year on an upswing. The data revealed that a renewed focus on the needs of their patients and a rapid, nimble adoption of technology solutions is what allowed practices to maintain and even enhance their patient relationships. The most significant of these technologies was telehealth.”
Prior to the pandemic, telehealth was a slowly adopted technology that many providers felt was a “nice-to-have” someday. In fact:
- In 2019, the Kareo State of the Independent Practice survey and report showed the adoption rate of telehealth at 22%.
- A survey Kareo conducted in March 2020 showed that the rate of telehealth usage nearly doubled to 41%.
- By June 2020, a follow up survey showed that telehealth usage skyrocketed to 77%.
- And by December 2020, that number had increased to 80% of independent practice respondents offering telehealth visits.
This dramatic adoption of telehealth was received mostly positively by independent healthcare providers, but also by their patients who were required to learn to use telehealth platforms to receive care and saw the benefit of the technology as a result.
While delivering care is always a high priority for independent practices, as shown in 2019 when 50% of participants cited it as their primary focus, in the 2021 report, that number has grown to 71%. This suggests that practitioners have a reinforced understanding of their role in patients’ lives and health, perhaps prompted by the pandemic, as well as an increasing recognition of the consumerization of healthcare. As patients have assumed greater responsibility for their own healthcare costs, often due to an increased use of high deductible health plans, they have also exerted more active choice in finding providers that meet their expectations.
For more information about how providers feel about using technology in their practices in 2021 and other interesting insights from Kareo’s recent survey, download the Kareo 2021 State of the Independent Practice report here.
Kareo is the only cloud-based and complete medical technology platform purpose-built to meet the unique needs of independent practices and the billing companies that serve them. Today Kareo helps more than 75,000 providers across all 50 states run a more efficient and profitable practice, while setting them up to deliver outstanding patient care. With oﬀices across the country, Kareo's mission is to help independent practices – and the billing companies that support them – succeed in an ever-changing healthcare market. More information can be found at www.kareo.com.