Private Equity Investment in ENT Practices
Private Equity’s love affair with specialty physician practices continues, as sponsors with an interest in healthcare investments seek opportunities to partner with leading otolaryngology practices.
Attractive Specialty – Large, Dynamic Market
Otolaryngology, or “ENT” is a medical specialty which is focused on the ears, nose, and throat. It is also called otolaryngology-head and neck surgery because specialists are trained in both medicine and surgery.
The otolaryngology industry is dynamic and expansive, covering a broad range of medical, surgical, and cosmetic procedures, such as tonsillectomy, head and neck cancer treatments, and rhinoplasties. Many of the procedures treated by otolaryngologists, such as asthma and seasonal allergies, hearing loss and tinnitus, and sleep apnea and snoring, affect multitudes of the U.S. population, resulting in a large, diverse potential patient base. Due to the wide range of procedures performed by ear, nose, and throat specialists, most practices report that no single class of procedures account for more than 10% of revenues. Industry growth is forecasted to be steady over the coming years; key catalysts of industry expansion include an increasing population of citizens age 65 and older (one in four Americans over age 65 suffer disabling hearing loss; the rate doubles to one in two by age 75), and expanding discretionary income, enabling more Americans to choose elective procedures.
Technology and Home Health Trends Impacting the Diagnostic Device Industry
The introduction of new technology in the healthcare industry has steadily improved patient care. Recently, increasing consumer demand for more convenient healthcare options is bringing a new wave of medical diagnostic devices that are more patient-friendly than ever before.
Taking Stock of Reimbursement Dynamics in Telehealth
In recent years, as technology and acceptance of telehealth solutions as a reliable, verified medium for the delivery of certain types of care have grown, demand for telehealth services has surged. Investment, innovation, and entrepreneurship in telehealth have kept pace, rapidly improving the quality of electronic healthcare delivery. Nevertheless, the ultimate facilitator of widespread adoption of telehealth as a means of care delivery are the twin gatekeepers of the healthcare dollar: commercial and government payors. Without buy-in from Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) and commercial insurers, the ability to deploy telehealth solutions to more cases will be limited. Therefore, as we survey the telehealth universe to identify new opportunities and emerging trends, it is imperative that we take stock of existing reimbursement dynamics for telehealth.
Long-Term Demographic Trends Impacting Home Health Care
There are currently 1.3 million Americans in long-term nursing facilities, but despite increases in demand for long-term nursing care, that number is shrinking. Between 2000 and 2009, the number of nursing facilities in the U.S. decreased by 9%, and in the years since, new construction of nursing home units has decreased by 33%. This decrease in nursing homes largely stems from modern reimbursement paradigms: on average, 90% of nursing home revenues come from Medicare and Medicaid, but at the current federal reimbursement rates for nursing home care, it is not profitable for nursing facilities to continue to operate. So what other option do senior citizens have when they need full-time care?
An estimated 51.9 million Americans (20.3% of the U.S. population) owned wearable technology (“wearables”) as of 2018 and that number is only expected to grow over the next several years.(1) The category spans AI-enabled glucose monitors to augmented reality glasses, but fitness trackers and smart watches are by far the most popular wearables, representing over half of the market. As wearables’ penetration continues to grow, so will the volume of data on individuals who adopt the technology—from physical activity, to sleep patterns, to heart rates. This level of data availability represents a major opportunity for technology-savvy companies who are able to effectively analyze the information and provide their customers actionable insights or valuable services.
The Potential of Care Coordination and Patient Communication to Improve U.S. Healthcare
The challenges facing the U.S. healthcare system are complex but boil down to two fundamental objectives: to lower the aggregate cost of care and to deliver improved outcomes. These dual objectives are oftentimes at odds under the existing industry construct. For many reasons, such as restricted access to care, legacy fee-for-service models, high drug prices, and imperfect implementation of public health initiatives, the incumbent regime is deeply rooted. To boot, many powerful participants within the industry are positioned to benefit from the status quo.
What’s on the Menu? Maximizing the Potential of Hospital Pricing Transparency Regulations
Beginning January 1st of this year, by order of the Trump administration, all hospitals in the U.S. are now required to publish master price lists – known as “chargemasters” – detailing all products and services offered to patients. According to the mandate, chargemasters must be readily available on the internet in a machine-readable format. While greater price transparency is a righteous goal, in practice, the pricing information is prohibitively difficult to find and utilize. The industry must take great strides in pricing data presentation and availability before the information can begin to positively impact affordability and patient care.
Unlocking the Value of Protected Patient Data
The global healthcare dataset is massive and grows larger each day. Widespread adoption of electronic health records (“EHR”), digital medical imaging, health monitoring tools, wearable devices, and other recent technological advances are projected to drive a 36% annual growth rate in the total volume of healthcare data through 2025, according to a recent report from IDC. The potential impact of this mountain of information is staggering. Effectively organizing and analyzing this data can improve patient outcomes and provide valuable insights on overall health trends. However, there are several hurdles on the path toward realizing the full potential of this information.
Digitalization in Healthcare – Alleviating Growing Pains Amid Electronic System Implementation
The year is 2019, and terms such as “Cloud Storage,” “Big Data” and “Artificial Intelligence (AI)” have evolved from foreign, idealized concepts to familiar, tangible solutions for problems plaguing businesses across many industries. Implementation of digital-based systems to assist with the collection, storage and manipulation of data seeks to increase efficiency in operations, but it can also present hurdles for industries with long-established workflows, such as healthcare.
Blockchain for Healthcare Data
Change Healthcare’s, a provider of healthcare technology solutions, recent acquisition of PokitDok, a leading provider of platform-as-a-service tools and software for developing healthcare applications, highlights the promise of using blockchain technology to streamline the management and analysis of patient healthcare data.
As noted in Change Healthcare’s December 18th press release:
“This acquisition is about practical innovation to create a more connected, transparent and efficient healthcare system where patients control their own information,” said Kris Joshi, Ph.D., executive vice president and president, Network Solutions, Change Healthcare. “As the leader in blockchain for healthcare and with one of the most extensive open API marketplaces available, with PokitDok we are bringing together synergistic assets and technical expertise for delivering additional capabilities to our customers and accelerated value to digital health markets.”
For years the global healthcare industry has struggled to find a streamlined way to manage patient records. The emergence of blockchain and secure, decentralized data management technologies, may offer a way to create portable, interoperable digital health records for patients.