The words, “healthcare,” and “expensive,” have long been associated terms. Skyrocketing healthcare costs across the globe have forced the industry to rethink the way it delivers quality and efficient care. Government involvement only further complicates the issues.
As 2017 unfolds, healthcare providers will see an overwhelming shift to value-based care—care focused on patients and affordability, rather than volume of treatments. For clinics and other smaller providers in particular, the overarching themes and trends that are influencing this shift can be broken down into five categories: incentives structures, innovation and technology, consumer expectations, business models and security. These trends stand to make navigating the healthcare landscape quite challenging in the coming years.
Here are what we see as the five most important trends impacting healthcare providers in 2017.
The correct incentive structure is essential to the idea of value-based care. Traditionally, providers operated under the fee-for-service (FFS) payment model, which incentivised them for increasing the volume of services rather than actually improving patient health. While incredibly profitable for providers, this structure severely misaligns physician compensation with overall patient outcomes. To remedy this, the industry has begun adopting the value-based care (VBC) payment model, where providers’ bonuses and penalties coincide with quality, outcome and price tag.
Innovations in Care
As providers rally around VBC, they must take advantage of innovation and technology that is drastically changing the way care is being administered. Care plans that were once created in a generalised format are now personalised for patients based on genetics; a system that can help avoid costly and life threatening trial and error treatments. Moreover, the pervasiveness of the digital world has given rise to “connected health,” an integrated form of care which enables providers to diagnose and treat patients remotely.
Rising Consumer Demands
This anytime, anywhere access to healthcare has led to a change in patient expectations and behaviours. Patients now solicit care with the mindset of the modern consumer. Not only are they more conscious of their own health status and diagnosis, but they want that information at their fingertips and are satisfied through innovations like online patient portals and wearable fitness trackers. Additionally, patients are increasingly using web services to find providers, discuss health concerns and research conditions.
New Business Models
In addition to adapting to consumer demands, providers may also need to adjust their business strategy to support VBC. Consolidation of the market has been a central theme in recent years, with healthcare providers engaging in M&A activities in an effort to extend care services. Where M&A doesn’t take place, healthcare organisations are often partnering with others to expand their offerings and avoid costly in-house solutions.
Overarching the entire healthcare industry is the need for enhanced security and protection from fraud. Innovations in the cloud have made it easier to manage sophisticated data analytics that can search for external threats in real time. Meanwhile, this same technology facilitates the flexible and customised interfaces that allow for privileged access, which improves business process efficiency while protecting sensitive information.
Though the shift to value based care is bound to create some upheaval within the market, it represents a fundamental transformation of the industry as we know it. Such a revolution effects not only patients and providers, but every player involved delivering health care. While adoption of the new system may be met with skepticism initially, sharing risk and responsibility for outcomes and costs will ultimately create a breadth of opportunities across the care continuum.
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