4 Big Healthcare Trends to Watch in 2018

3 minute read

Posted by Jon Reed on Jan 5, 2018 10:47:24 AM

The healthcare industry faced some dramatic changes during 2017. From CMS' many rules and roll outs to embracing data and analytics, it's safe to say that healthcare looks pretty different than it did two or three years ago. So what does that mean for 2018? More tech in the hospital space? Sure. A heavier emphasis on efficiency and reduced risk? Maybe. The fulfillment of a longstanding Mayan prophecy? Probably not. 

While there are certainly many things to keep an eye on as we welcome a new year full of innovation, there are four trends and issues that we believe will have a particularly lasting impact moving forward. 

Understanding and Improving the Patient Experience

 As always, the patient comes first. The patient experience covers all interactions a patient has with the healthcare system. This includes everything from health plans to care from doctors and other hospital staff. When seeking and receiving care, patients value timely appointment scheduling, easy access to their information, and good communication with healthcare providers. Patient-centered technology will make a huge leap in 2018, as more organizations are making strategic investments in this area. This spike in more patient-oriented tech can be attributed to a couple of different things, namely among them the shift towards value-based care. A big part of this will be the collection and use of data to gain a more holistic picture of the patient's past, present, and future. In a health-related nut shell: Where have they been? Where are they now? Where are they going?

 The Complex State of Healthcare Reform

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 Without diving into the politics of reforming healthcare, there has been a greater focus on shifting power to the individual states in regards to healthcare policy. With more and more healthcare organizations operating across state lines, the risk of not understanding individual policies and their financial impact on the bottom line is growing exponentially. As a result, PwC recommends strengthening compliance and putting a greater emphasis on local advocacy efforts in 2018 and beyond. 

Security and the Internet of Things (IoT)

So, what exactly is the IoT? Putting it simply, it's the idea of connecting any given device to the internet. Essentially, if a device can be connected to the internet, it will be. Naturally and understandably, this has raised some major red flags in the healthcare industry. Particularly in the areas of patient privacy and security. With technology playing such a critical role in healthcare today, it's important to make sure proper security measures are in place and constantly updated. Many hospitals don't even know how many devices are connected to the network, which is a huge security risk in and of itself. When you talk about mitigating risk, this should be priority one. According to a PwC survey, only 31% of payers and providers have plans in place to educate employees on the best security practices as well as policies regarding operating connected devices. Hopefully hospitals will begin to take cyber security more seriously in 2018. 

AI in Healthcare

The use of the word AI in healthcare might cause some providers to scoff or panic. Relax, AI will not replace providers. However, it has shown its potential through the automation of decision-making, financial efficiencies, supply chains, and compliance functions. Repetitive tasks in particular are appealing to those looking to implement AI into daily hospital routines. Perhaps most importantly, AI has the ability to read and interpret data at a much faster pace in addition to increased efficiency. Again, AI won't be stealing provider jobs, but it can help increase their effectiveness.  

Welcome to the Future

From enhancing the patient experience to AI and its appropriate use, 2018 will bring some much needed updates to the healthcare industry. While there are certainly many other industry trends and issues to keep an eye on, we believe that these are some that will have a long-lasting impact on healthcare moving forward. Cheers to making 2018 a great year in healthcare!

 


 

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