Physician practices are anticipating a number of important deadlines in 2014, including the ICD-10 implementation in October and other provisions of the Affordable Care Act that will come into effect as the year goes on. According to Physicians Practice, some health care organizations will find themselves unprepared for the changes and unable to meet them successfully. This could spell disaster for a number of practices, which is particularly damaging as the influx of newly insured patients creates a stronger demand for physicians than ever before. Providers owe it to themselves and to society to ensure they survive the changes of 2014 and continue to thrive in the years to come. Here are some ways to do just that:

Consider this year's changes as the first of many to come
With all of the changes facing medical practices this year, it is easy for administrators and practitioners to believe they will settle back into normalcy after they've hit all of the necessary milestones. On the contrary, according to Physicians Practice, practitioners should consider the 2014 requirements and milestones as merely a the first phase of an ongoing transition. Taking changes in stride is an excellent way to begin a pattern of rolling with the many punches the health care industry can bring.

Practices that successfully transition to the ICD-10 coding system and work with the changes from the Affordable Care Act will be ready for any coming alterations in the practice of medicine. This will help practices maintain their revenue cycle management in a sustainable and healthy manner even as the business of health care undergoes significant alterations.

Remember medicine is a business
Most physicians aren't trained in running a business, as they are instead focusing throughout their education on learning how to take care of patients. While this is understandable, it puts them at a disadvantage for going into individual practice. An independent medical practice is a business as much as any storefront or law firm, and physicians need to learn to treat it as such.

As physicians may not have a significant amount of business acumen, they need to find others who do. Whether this means taking on a dedicated practice manager, taking business courses or both, it should also entail partnerships with consultants and other outside firms. One alliance that will serve a physician well is with a revenue cycle management company. These firms can help physicians obtain the greatest possible amount of reimbursement for all of the procedures they perform. This in turn can help fund improvements to a practice – whether necessary, like an electronic health records system, or discretionary.