The pandemic has highlighted the macro-level challenges of the healthcare landscape – legal, regulatory, and economic obstacles and enablers. These were issues that existed before the pandemic, but as COVID-19 continues, the need to tackle these issues will only increase in relevance for health care systems, hospitals, and health care plans in order to best serve stakeholders.
According to Deloitte, healthcare spending is expected to rise by 5% annually from 2019-2023. Yet, there are several aspects of the industry that require reform in order to deal with the rising costs of health care, including the rising cost of health care management. Here are a few trends in healthcare that can help improve the health care experience for patients while also benefiting healthcare providers and streamlining health care.
Here are a few future trends anticipated in the healthcare industry.
Health care payment reform is one focus area — as costs increase, the need to achieve less with more will prove more important. Value-based payment models may present a better alternative to existing payment models because, as Deloitte writes, they can help “providers, payers, and patients achieve the best outcomes at the lowest cost.”
Consumer-Focused Health Care
Beyond payment reforms, healthcare providers must continue to focus on the consumer and move towards patient-centered rather than clinician-centered care. The shift to patient-centered care includes improving health care convenience and access, for example, via telehealth and digital tools. Consumer-focused efforts can also drive down costs for the patient, while improving quality of life and patient outcomes. They can also streamline the health care process, which makes things easier for health care providers.
Interoperability is another aspect of consumer-focused health care that makes it easier for patients to have access to their health care records – as well as easier for their files to be transferred from one health care location to another. As technology continues to advance, there is an increased need for electronic medical records (EMR) that can actually provide portability between different institutions. Information sharing reduces bureaucratic barriers to care, reduces doctors’ work, and ensures the highest standard of care by providing care providers with the best, most complete EMR information.
Taking Stock of Uncertainties in the Healthcare Industry
Uncertainties such as rising health care costs, changing patient demographics, evolving consumer expectations, new entrants (including nontraditional players such as telemedicine and digital disease management platforms) to the healthcare market, and the complexities of the health and technology ecosystems require a forward-thinking approach to health care, especially in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, but also in the future.
Stakeholders in the healthcare industry must invest in value-based care, innovative models for care delivery, advanced digital technologies such as telehealth, data interoperability, and ways to prepare for the abovementioned challenges.
Improving technology will be a major force in healthcare innovation in the next few months and even years. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) will continue to help make medical and health care platforms easier to use for stakeholders, and advanced analytics can help accelerate innovation in this space as well.
The future of healthcare, according to McKinsey, includes “consumer-centric personalized, intuitive, and integrated health and social care ecosystems.” The current COVID-19 pandemic will differentiate the winners from the losers in terms of balance sheets, company performance, investment in growth, and the ability to adapt and remain resilient in the face of crisis.