Between the recent changes in our nation’s health insurance system and the rapid and radical advances in technology, 2015 promises to be an important year in healthcare. Here are a few of the big trends and changes you can expect to see as our health system grows and evolves.
1. Wearables & Smart Technology
The biggest trend that has already begun and will only continue to grow and expand in 2015 is that of wearable technology. This technology uses smart-linked devices and mobiles apps to monitor a patient’s health and send data to physicians. Physicians and nurses are exceedingly open to this technology as it limits the amount of patients they need to physically see, and as patients begin to trust the technology, they too will be on board as it will limit their trips to the doctor’s office. You can read more about this new revolutionary technology in my November column.
Due to this radical movement in the way that we collect, store and transfer health information, 2015 will see a push and pull between convenience and privacy. As the health industry moves into the digital age, privacy will give way to convenience to a certain extent. This, however, is not something patients are agreeable with just yet. In a recent HRI Consumer Survey, 73% of consumers say that data security was still more important than convenience.
2015 will see the introduction of a lot of new high-priced products and specialty drugs. But with these, patients and consumers will be expecting and demanding clear, defined evidence of positive health outcomes. This, combined with our ever-growing world of instant-information at our fingertips, will call for a new movement in transparency. In fact, there are new initiatives focused on the transparency of clinical trial data, real-world patient outcomes, and financial relationships between physicians and pharmaceutical companies. This trend should only serve to improve the healthcare system.
4. The Newly Insured
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, 2015 will see 10 million newly insured consumers. That’s a huge number, and the effects should be widespread. Ultimately, we can expect this to mean better care management programs, a demand for systems to run more smoothly and efficiently, and it also might mean a shift in marketing strategies.
5. The Millennial Generation
The millennial generation (those born between 1981 – 2000) is actually a larger group than the baby boomers. And now that the boomers are retiring and the nation’s job market is improving, the health industry will see a shift in how providers and insurers look to attract and retain this new younger health generation of nearly 80 million millennials.
6. Expanding the “Extenders”
Considering the great number of newly insured health consumers combined with the enormous size of the generation now coming into prime adulthood, doctors are going to have to start delegating tasks and relying on “extenders” to carry some of the workload. This means a greater need for and reliance on nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and pharmacists. And research shows that the majority of patients have comfort and trust in seeing these care-givers. In 2015, doctors will no longer be our first line of care.
7. Partnerships & Collaborations
Along with this new dependence on extended care-givers, 2015 will also see a movement towards new open collaborations and non-traditional partnerships. For many healthcare companies, this will be a very new way of doing business, but it seems to be the way of the future. In the last year or so, the major healthcare companies formed over 70 distinct partnerships in up to 9 different categories, such as supply distribution, care coordination, research & development, and consumer education among others.
It is clear that there are a lot of changes happening in the healthcare industry, and we are hoping that most of them are for the better. At the Encinitas Nursing and Rehabilitation Center we pride ourselves on being at the forefront of technology and the next movement in healthcare, but we also never lose sight that the patient’s needs are always the first priority. For more information please don’t hesitate to contact us at https://encinitasnursingandrehab.com or call us at (760) 753-6423.