Now that the eventful healthcare year of 2017 is behind us, what can we expect from the healthcare industry in 2018? Last year, healthcare faced many changes. In 2018, the rate of change will increase as healthcare continues to evolve. Entering the year 2018, these are some of the emerging trends to watch:
1. Continuing Shift from Fee-for-Service to Value-Based Model
Value-based healthcare is a healthcare delivery model in which hospital and physicians are paid based on health outcomes. In this model, providers are rewarded for helping patients improve their health using evidence-based medicine. Whereas, in the fee-for-service model, providers are paid based on the amount of healthcare services they deliver. Value-based healthcare is beneficial because patients will spend less money while achieving better health. Providers will gain efficiency while reducing costs and risk. However, moving from a fee-for-service to value-based system is taking more time than expected. In 2018 the move to value-based healthcare will continue.
2. Predictive Analytics
Large amounts of healthcare data have been collected for years. These datasets are now large and complex. Predictive analytical techniques can be used with vast amounts of patient and medical data to inform individual patient treatment options. Precise predictions can be made regarding complications and outcomes of specific protocols.
3. Wearable Devices
Wearables, apps, and biosensors are helping providers to remotely track patient health, engage patients and create more efficient ways to care for patients. Sensor-based accessories have been designed to manage heart rate, blood pressure, blood sugar, sleep and more. You can expect additional wearable items to soon be available, all with the goal of increasing health, reducing trips to the doctor, and saving money.
Due to the large amounts of confidential information being gathered in healthcare, which includes credit card numbers, social security numbers as well as patient health data, our industry is particularly exposed to security risks. Through education and regular checks and balances, healthcare organizations can develop a culture of security to reduce a portion of security breaches. Trending numbers of healthcare organizations are hiring Chief Security Officers (CSOs) or Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) to further address security issues.
In healthcare, everyone wants greater transparency. Patients want transparency in access to information regarding costs, insurance coverage, and alternative treatments. Physicians want transparency in accessing information regarding which potential referral partner has the best outcomes. Payers and providers want transparency in quality, utilization and patient satisfaction. Continued increases in transparency will result in improved health outcomes and reduced costs.
6. Electronic Health Records
Fairly new, Electronic Health Records (EHRs) have come into widespread use within the decade. Quick access to patient medical records is only the beginning of how EHRs can benefit healthcare. EHR innovations will transform healthcare. They will be used to solve public health mysteries, facilitate precision medicine, and perhaps take medicine in a whole new direction.
7. Physician Burnout Prevention
Physician burnout is an epidemic. Healthcare organizations are recognizing the impacts of burnout on patients, quality, and finances. Promoting physician wellness will become a priority for practices and healthcare organizations. Interventions such as workflow redesign, discussing difficult cases with other providers, and improving communication within the practice have been shown to be effective.
Patients will continue to demand more accessible healthcare options. Growth in urgent care centers, pharmacy care, mobile care delivery and telemedicine have offered patients the convenience of healthcare during the right hours. It turns out this widely requested convenience is good for health.
9. Scope of Practice
The scope of practice is an issue regarding who can practice what kind of medicine, in what settings and under what type of physician supervision. It is an issue that involves all practitioners – physicians, nurses, chiropractors, pharmacists, dentists, therapists, psychologists, physician assistants, and midwives. The shortage of psychiatrists and primary care physicians have caused Medicare and some states to consider removing barriers to the scope of practice. In 2018 we will see some roles redefined.
10. Health Systems Partnering with Community Organizations
Partnerships between Health Systems and Community Organization have shown to be effective means for improving the well-being of larger populations. Instead of waiting for patients to come through the doors, hospitals can make a preventative impact on the population. This collaboration allows for the mediation of root causes of disease before people become ill.
This is a challenging yet exciting time for healthcare. Technology and data are driving efficiency and improving outcomes. 2018 is the year to embrace change.