In 2018, one of the major industry trends we saw in healthcare was the continuous growth of healthcare costs and the pressure healthcare providers are experiencing as a result. As hospitals continue to address the financial pressures of the current environment, three key components have emerged as continued trends for 2019. Although they may not be unique to 2019, they will continue to be a market force that shapes the landscape of healthcare.
- Continued focus on efficiency as hospitals seek to control costs. In an effort do so, many healthcare organizations are shifting away from traditional staffing models and moving toward staffing models that optimize efficiency through a mix of specialists, primary and non-primary care providers. In doing so, healthcare has seen an expansion of advanced practice practitioners into roles previously reserved for physicians. These measures seek to promote more accessible care that is cost-effective for patients and providers.
- Continued efforts to address the underlying social determinants of health. Over the course of the past few years, we have seen an increase in partnerships between healthcare providers and private firms as they seek to address social factors that can negatively affect population health. This year should see increased activity in these areas as hospitals continue to bring back costs and promote proactive care measures.
- Continued focus on convenience. Last year, both the VA and Medicare were approved by the federal government to move forward with implementing telemedicine into their care plans. Not only did the inclusion of telehealth coverage make care more accessible for the approximately 10 million veterans enrolled in the VA Healthcare system, but the Medicare component also granted telemedicine coverage to the 58.5 million Americans currently enrolled in the program. Following this trend, patient preferences for convenience have continued to shape the market as demand for online appointments, appointment flexibility for weekends/ evenings and various online services.
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