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A Guide for Specialty Practices Navigating a Future of Healthcare that Does Good and Feels Good

As the healthcare evolves toward service-based models, providers increasingly look to balance service delivery demands while keeping their core medical values without yielding to an overburdened system’s pressures.

Since its mainstream adoption in the 1960s, the fee-for-service (FFS) healthcare model has been the foundational framework for delivering and compensating healthcare services. Initially designed to provide comprehensive coverage for retirees, low-income families, and those with limited medical care access, it has significantly eased healthcare access for millions. However, as the healthcare landscape evolves toward service-based models, providers increasingly look to balance service delivery demands while keeping their core medical values without yielding to an overburdened system’s pressures.

Physicians and business owners in specialized fields such as dermatology, ophthalmology, and aesthetics face unique challenges under the traditional FFS model. Operating independently from standard reimbursement frameworks, these specialty practices have a distinct advantage in pioneering healthcare innovation – especially innovation outside of the FFS model.

The emphasis on medical wellness within these fields shows healthcare’s ongoing evolution toward outcome-based care models, focusing on achieving the best health outcomes and enhancing patient well-being. After all, 82% of U.S. consumers now consider wellness a top or important priority in their everyday lives, according to a study by McKinsey and Co. This shift from the healthcare industry reflects a broader movement toward prioritizing patient wellness and places specialty practices at the forefront of adopting innovative care paradigms to serve the generational spectrum of patient needs. This evolution allows healthcare organizations to embrace other trends that could redefine healthcare’s future, putting patient satisfaction as a measure of success as important as clinical outcomes.

Medical wellness: A proof of concept for innovation and outcomes 

Medical wellness aligns receptively with the outcomes-based care model, which requires a comprehensive understanding of a patient’s health status, lifestyle, and wellness goals. It advocates for proactive health management, early intervention, and personalized care plans, aiming for the best health outcomes. Such care priorities, considered non-negotiable by many younger generations, highlight the model’s viability and the need to shift from transactional to a more sustainable, effective, and patient-centered healthcare approach. Specialty practices, particularly in the aesthetics field, are well-positioned to meet these comprehensive wellness demands by integrating medical wellness into their offerings.

With the medical wellness sector valued at over $1.5 trillion in 2021 and expected to grow 5%-10% annually, there’s a significant opportunity for specialty practices to diversify their services and adopt a more integrative patient care approach. Today’s consumers have a broadened perspective of wellness, too, including mental health and physical appearance, driving the demand for preventive, holistic, and personalized treatment regimens that medical wellness embodies. This adherence to outcomes-based care principles demonstrates the potential for achieving a variation of the healthcare “triple aim” holy grail sought by the industry for decades by enhancing patient satisfaction, improving health outcomes, and reducing healthcare costs.

Technology for wellness

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A Deep-dive Into Specialty Pharma

A specialty drug is a class of prescription medications used to treat complex, chronic or rare medical conditions. Although this classification was originally intended to define the treatment of rare, also termed “orphan” diseases, affecting fewer than 200,000 people in the US, more recently, specialty drugs have emerged as the cornerstone of treatment for chronic and complex diseases such as cancer, autoimmune conditions, diabetes, hepatitis C, and HIV/AIDS.

The shift toward medical wellness underscores the critical need for a departure from transactional healthcare models and highlights the potential for technology to play a pivotal role in this transition. Specialty practices, leading the charge in healthcare transformation, also play a crucial role in reimagining the technological infrastructure necessary for delivering this brand of outcomes-based care. The need for EHR and other technologies capable of managing medical wellness nuances underscores the importance of designing technology with these specialty practices and their patient care needs in mind.

Creating EHR technology that can address these specific needs is crucial for fostering a healthcare ecosystem that prioritizes patient outcomes. This approach enhances the quality of care and lays the groundwork for a more sustainable healthcare economy. By embracing the principles of outcomes-based care and integrating medical wellness into their practice, specialty providers can lead the charge in transforming healthcare delivery for the better, ensuring that both health outcomes and the patient’s overall experience are placed at the forefront of care priorities.

The next generation of care

As the healthcare landscape adapts from the traditional FFS model toward an outcomes-based care paradigm, the role of specialty practices becomes increasingly pivotal. These practices – with their historically niche service offering – have the unique opportunity to drive innovation in healthcare delivery by integrating medical wellness into their practice area to meet both outcomes-based care requirements and consumer demand. By embracing this shift, specialty practices can lead the way in redefining the industry, making it more patient-centered, and addressing the comprehensive wellness needs that have become increasingly important to patients across all generations.

Adopting technology that supports outcomes-based care and medical wellness further highlights the transformative potential of specialty practices. This integrative technological focus, coupled with a commitment to outcomes-based care, positions specialty practices at the forefront of a healthcare revolution. As they navigate this transition, they can improve patient health outcomes and satisfaction and play a crucial role in shaping the future of healthcare, where the value of care is measured not just in clinical outcomes but in the overall well-being and satisfaction of the patient.

Photo: metamorworks, Getty Images

Robin Ntoh is a specialty healthcare and aesthetics leader with over 35 years of experience in business management and executive leadership roles. As the Vice President of Aesthetics at Nextech, she implements strategies that optimize practice workflows, enhance patient engagement, and help to improve the financial management of specialty practices across ophthalmology, dermatology, and plastics disciplines. Drawing on experience serving over 400 clients throughout her career, Robin is widely sought after as a speaker and educator at national meetings, including ASCRS-ASOA, AACS, VCS, VAS, ADAM, AAFPRS, and ASAPS. Through her writing, she has contributed significantly to the field of aesthetic medicine. She is also a dedicated advocate for women in technology, actively supporting initiatives to empower future leaders in the industry.

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