Amidst regulatory changes, evolving patient expectations, and emerging technology, healthcare providers find themselves in a very interesting, and challenging, ecosystem. Of course, while these pressures present obstacles to success, they also present an enormous opportunity for providers that are able to be nimble and adapt to a continually shifting “new normal.”
Today, healthcare providers are able to provide exceptional care to patients, and with the proper technology and processes, can maintain a 360-degree view of a patient’s health profile, allowing for more accurate diagnoses and more effective treatment plans. At HealthTECH Resources, Inc., my team and I are fortunate to work with many of the nation’s leading providers and have built a keen understanding of trends that are impacting the space. In this article, I would like to share a few that we believe will have a critical impact on the way providers and patients alike will manage healthcare in the near term.
It’s no secret that preventive medicine is a rising trend in healthcare, as patients, insurance providers, and care providers alike recognize the benefits of preventing a disease rather than having to treat it once it presents. Preventive medicine is also more cost effective, helping reduce the level of wasted services and procedures needed to diagnose and treat. And there is plenty of waste. In fact, according to Meritage Med, a whopping 30% of healthcare spending goes to waste. This includes unnecessary services like the overprescription of antibiotics, which wastes roughly $210 billion each year, and administrative costs for paperwork, which wastes an estimated $190 billion. As wearable technology such as Apple Watch and Fitbit become more pervasive, individuals will continue to take greater control over their own healthcare, which will reduce the burden on providers and (hopefully) lead to greater overall wellness.
On the provider side, technology has enabled greater transparency of patient data than ever before, equipping doctors and medical teams with insights that allow for more optimal and customized care. Still, we have a long way to go before there is complete integration across the entire care continuum and true transparency of patient health data. We expect this to be a dominant trend over the next few years, as regulators push for both stronger integration across systems as well as enhanced data privacy for patients. With Medicare, as an example, there has been a discussion of mandating providers to participate in health information exchange activities. Earlier this year, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) proposed to re-name the federal EHR Incentive Program, or meaningful use, choosing to now call the program “Promoting Interoperability.” Achieving interoperability across the broader technology stack will prove quite a challenge but will be key to success over the next several years.
Emphasis on Talent Development
Technology is the dominant topic of discussion for healthcare management and has been for some time, and certainly, we don’t expect this to subside in the coming years. But in an era of revolutionary tech development, the importance of having dedicated and collaborative talent to support business needs has too often been ignored. A primary issue that many healthcare providers face is having inadequate talent resources to optimize the expensive and complex technology they have invested in, and we also work with many organizations on planning and process development to ensure that end users are set up for success. As the pendulum swings back a bit, we expect more emphasis to be placed on the talent side of the house, building teams both in-house and with outside resources across the entire spectrum of care.
What trends are you seeing play out in your own businesses? Perhaps these are impacting you in varying ways. I’d love to learn more about the challenges your business is facing and how we might be able to help.