As 2012 comes to a close, a lot of speculations and insights are made about the future trends that will affect the healthcare industry in 2013. It is no longer a surprise that people are concerned about healthcare issues due to the rising cost of medical care, the changes in insurance coverage and the amendments in government reform.
Various institutions and organizations have made their own analysis, and what were similar in their studies were the following:
Change in Consumer Demographics
There is an increasing demand for behavioral therapy services as people are exposed to challenging and stressful situations at home and in the workplace. That is why there is a rise in chronic conditions of alcoholism, obesity and mental illness.
This trend further causes the spike in health expenditure and demand for regular visits to healthcare professionals. A need that must be addressed in 2013 is to create more lifestyle and wellness enhancement programs.
Need for Data Driven and Innovative Health Associations
With the changing demands from healthcare consumers, follow the need to reorganize and reinvent service platforms. This comes with the age of rapid advancement in technology and the influence of social media. Traditional methods may no longer be as appealing to the demographical market for they seek fast and efficient services that are cost effective. These needs force associations to look for the most data driven and highly innovative system and computing solutions.
Associations also have to fill in the gap between providing quality service to healthcare consumers and meeting the billing and payment system for the medical providers. All these must be done in an environment that does not lose track of their primary mission of quality service and strong relationships.
IT and Health Services Equals eHealth
Information Technology and health services can no longer be separated because IT forces the healthcare system to adapt to the growing and complex needs of consumers. The issue, however, is the fast-paced technology advancement that changes every few months. An example here is the delay in the implementation of the Health and Human Services ICD-10 RUV.
Another trend that pushes eHealth is the upswing in the demand for mobile health supported applications. It has gained such popularity among consumers due to its convenience in terms of payment system and the reduction of clinic visits and hospital admissions. This remote monitoring system has also been moving forward with the healthcare providers as long as their concerns in security and payment system are addressed properly. Consumers with no life threatening conditions are assessed and monitored via text messaging and electronic mail.
Hospitals and clinics may have to look into fully integrating this remote monitoring system with their in-house protocols and with all their healthcare providers and consumers.
Limited Insurance Coverage and Complex System Requirements
The increasing demands from consumers and the complex system requirements would also affect insurance coverage. The rising cost of claims and the system expenditures would force insurance companies to increase premium rates, and therefore, push companies to implement cuts in medical aid. This leaves one option for employers, which is to increase employee share in the premium payments.
Government Healthcare Reform
Insurance coverage changes and political issues have placed the government in a tough situation where they are expected to increase medical coverage while they need to cut the cost and reduce losses. There is a continuing debate about HIPAA and ACA provision plus other Medicaid programs in the federal government that hopes to address the needs of the citizens while all efforts are placed to balance expenditure and losses.
Technology Enabled Home Care
There will be a great clamor for provider organizations and primary care physicians to provide a technology-based home care. New primary care service models will have to be cost-effective, accessible, convenient and technology-supported. This trend will push forward the competition and culture of quality performance, accountability and innovation among primary healthcare providers. The government may have to tap this opportunity to establish healthcare provider networks and provide eHealth facilities and applications to reduce national health spending.
The economic crisis may not be over yet in the next couple of years, and may continue to take its toll in the healthcare industry. There are cuts and losses that are expected, but there are also opportunities that can be explored to improve healthcare services. Among them include the upgrade of medical school education system to prepare health providers in the emerging technology-based healthcare needs, development of a more coordinated hospital-to-home care transition, strengthening the technology-based primary care facilities and cutting the national budget losses through a more strategic budget planning. The ultimate goal in 2013 is to understand the critical issues that will impact the health system, to prepare the healthcare landscape to address the needs of the consumers and ready the providers with the emerging trends.