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Is market for wound care services big enough for 2 practices in the same city?

woundcare medical billing

As a practicing wound care specialist and having seen the changing trends in wound care, it is no surprise when I read that the global wound care market is expected to reach USD 20.4 Billion by 2021 from USD 17.0 Billion in 2016, growing at a CAGR of 3.6% from 2016 to 2021.

The above figures are based taking into account a number of factors, prominent among them, I as a wound care specialist see significant from my perspective are- the rising aging population, government support in the form of funding for development of wound care products, increasing incidence of chronic diseases such as diabetes and growing obese population and yes, technology advancement especially in the wound care product segment. The latter is a very vital aspect to factor in when understanding how and why wound care treatment has the potential to grow. Sometimes I am of the opinion that technology has preceded the way we treat wounds and it is us who as specialists are lagging behind (mind you this is my personal opinion).

 Wound care is no longer the simple tending of wounds as we know- using a cleansing agent, simple dressing and medical tapes and prescribing a few painkillers. Today, different types of wound care exists from standard wound care therapy management to advanced wound care that treat chronic & complex wounds which can be difficult to treat and result in complications like amputation, severe & unbearable pain, and even lead to depression. Besides the treatment of the surgical wound care that is the natural consequence after any kind of surgery, yet within this there could be specific wound care management which would require advanced wound dressings or specific therapy devices employed extending over from the acute to the chronic wound dressings.

Moreover, with changing lifestyles that are leading to chronic diseases like diabetics, and participation in adventure sports, and the increase in the aging population (in 2050, the population aged 65 and over is projected to be 83.7 million, almost double its estimated population of 43.1 million in 2012!), chronic wound care management is gaining prominence. Thus different types of wound care procedures are now being practiced and hence based on wound types the wound care specialty is also growing. Wound care for the end user is generally treatment administered at hospitals & Wound care specialty centers- in patient as well as outpatient,  long term care facilities and  of course the home  healthcare facilities. Depending on the type of wound, the end user/patient will decide based on their insurance coverage too and the age factor where they can be treated.

So the above gives us a scenario that wound care is not just dressing of a simple wound, but could be complex and chronic at the same time. It involves not just your local general practitioner but would also require the assistance of a wound care specialist, if you as the end user are someone suffering from a chronic disease and require specialized wound care management.

Advanced wound care therapies are now known to assist in rapid healing and recovery of wounds. They are cost effective and help to prevent recurrence. Emerging new technology has speeded the development of advanced wound therapies. As per WHO’s Wound and Lymphoedema Management Report, each year, in North America, between 5 and 7 million chronic and/or complex wounds occur and billions of dollars each year are spent to care and treat these wounds. And yes, technological development, and increase in surgical procedures, given the prominent factors mentioned above, is expected to trigger the growth of advanced wound care management products.

 

Further, the increasing incidences of chronic wound mainly due to lifestyle changes, has provoked the necessity for products that offer faster and efficient wound healing. So yes, a majority of the big hospitals have shown their preference towards the advanced wound care products and which is further nudged, given the rules & regulations and goals of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or the Obamacare to reduce the healthcare costs – faster wound healing & recovery helps decrease the average length of stay in hospitals. Thus the rising need and demand for advanced products that increases therapeutic outcome does seem to drive the advanced wound care market.

No matter how big our cities are or the kind of patient demographics we have – you can be assured that not just two but more than two wound care practices can co-exist not just within the same eco-sphere of a hospital, but also within the same city and still be profitable- be it a hospital or a Specialty wound care center or even a long term facility center that can have a wound care specialist among its group of physicians. But yes, you would need to know the ins and outs of the complex wound care coding & billing process, if you have your own wound care practice in order to survive the state & federal compliances and audits. You may have the knowledge of wound care technology that can have your patients healing up fast. But, if your operational process is not technologically in-line with the electronic processing that is today a “medical necessity”, you could falter big time and your wound care practice could be in crisis due to an inefficient RCM.  I have outsourced this complex “medusa” like component of my practice, so that I can hone in my wound care skills for the betterment of my patients and we both end up healed effectively!

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