A lot of trends are transforming the U.S. healthcare landscape. It would be wrong if we would say, that just a few trends and innovations are shocking and changing its landscape. Not at all. Let’s break it down into two sections. In the first one, let’s talk more widely and mention facts that you may have heard already. In the second one, let’s go more in depth and talk about specific trends who may shift healthcare industry more noticeable.

First part

Not going into so many details, we can say that there are 4 main categories where to focus on:

Government: Medical expansion, new payment and delivery models

  • Affordable Care Act;
  • American Recovery and Reinvestment act; 
  • Increasing regulations; 
  1. Growing health economy: It is estimated, that by 2030, 1 out of 5 Americans will be at least 65 years old, which means that demand for chronic care will increase.

Additionally, bigger employment and investment is expected in this field – which is also nothing new

  • shifting demographics; 
  1. And again – technology: nanotechnology and other new ways of treatments are implemented day by day. From genetic breakthroughs to digital health. And we can only guess what will come next.
  • Mobile;
  • Cloud;
  • Analytics;
  • Social
  1. Paying less for a better service: People are demanding and expecting that in upcoming years healthcare services will get better in quality, but the costs will go down. For fewer dollars more – quality, transparency, evidence.
  • Better service;
  • Reduced costs;
  • Consumer transformation;

Hand in hand with these trends comes challenges for industry stakeholders. Opportunities and innovation are also there. One noticeable spectre is shifts from hospitals to lower cost sites. Another one is more personalized care – mass generalization will change to mass customization and precision.

Second part

As you can see, there are all kinds of characteristics floating around. Above mentioned ones are facts and trends that a lot of people have already heard. But after doing a deeper analysis, I wanted to put together a list of what challenges and trends we can expect in the healthcare industry in 2017. Take a look and let me know if you agree with them, and if I have missed anything. Here is my top 3:

Need to tolerate risk in a value-based purchasing

Healthcare industry has already determined that they are aware and implementing new strategies to survive value-based payment models. Some of the solutions could be:

  • Applying for Accountable Care Organization status;
  • Bundled payment arrangements;

It is not clear which of the strategies they focus more, and which of them are more favorable. And here comes data analysis and scenario building. To understand this one better, let’s build a scenario. So, if a hospital is doing a poor job with hospital-acquired conditions, value-based purchasing and high readmissions, it will be at risk for reduction. Moreover, medical care is reducing payments in many hospitals. Also, a new kind of risk looms are on the horizon. When Medical care is reducing payments, affected hospitals are publicly listed.

Because of that, nowadays, patients are searching online for different patient reviews and information, before selecting where they want to receive care. And the importance of social media also makes it easy to build a bad reputation and spread it quickly.

Growing interest in population health management

A lot of people in the healthcare industry are talking about a thing called “population health management“. But what it really means? You cannot find one and a common definition for that. And for those people who are trying to develop different strategies to be ready and to improve their health service, we found one easy understandable definition for that. Following definition was found on Health Catalyst:

“Population health management is a proactive application of strategies and interventions to defined cohorts of individuals across the continuum of healthcare delivery in an effort to maintain and/or improve the health of the individuals within the cohort at the lowest necessary cost.” 

First of all, health systems need to know more about the patients they serve. Success is now depending on the combination of deployment, technology, and content. And even now, you can see a lot of partnership and investment in this area. And of course – it is expected to continue.

Stronger collaboration

To survive the shift to value-based healthcare, it is important to make partnerships and collaborations. And these partnerships are happening not only within the healthcare industry but outside as well. We can only expect to see more joint projects and efforts. Here will be one example of the recent healthcare partnerships:

Allina Health made a dozen teams. The main goal is to bring community members together and talk about health issues in their neighbourhood. Then, all together trying to come up with solutions;

Final verdict

Long story short – people in the healthcare industry are trying to create higher value at lower costs. It somehow doesn’t make a sense, right? But it will. It should. And the formula how to make this, in reality, is pretty simple – value equals quality over cost.

Deliver better outcome for patients and decrease the overall costs of care can be solved. Clinicians are tracking their performance with analytics applications and digging into the date, in order to discover the relationship between clinical outcomes and cost. In this way, people within this field can see how creating value contribute to performance and growth. You may ask why it is so urgent. Well, consider that:

  • there are more than 13,000 baby boomers ageing into Medical care daily; 
  • the population in the U.S. is growing fast. According to Forbes, in upcoming years healthcare will spend $11,000 per person;

You cannot buy time. The more we wait, the more complicated it will be to adapt the new changes. And even now we are creating new patterns and trends in the healthcare industry. The longer we wait, the more it will cost to be implemented. We must react now.

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