Tomorrow, millions of Americans will watch the Times Square ball drop – signaling the end of a decade and the arrival of 2020. In addition to sharing the holiday cheer, we, healthcare technology professions and enthusiasts, always reflect about what lies ahead.
The next decade will bring major transformations in how Americans experience care. Here are a few of my thoughts on what’s to come:
Focus on Quality Equals Focus on Patient Care
Fee-for-service payment models based on quantity of care will continue giving way to value-based care provision to generate improved outcomes. As providers are incentivized by quality, each individual patient becomes the focus: unique needs, prevention of disease, engagement in care, and coordination for optimal collaboration—all at a lower cost.
In 2020, we’ll see a greater focus on the consumer, whose role evolves with increased visibility, participation, and data access.
Focus on Patient Care Equals Consumerization of Healthcare
As patients experience more choices and involvement in their care, they’re vocalizing increasing demands regarding services.
Consumers want to know the price tag for treatment and how different providers compare in quality they deliver. As out-of-pocket costs, co-pays and deductibles grow, so will the need for price and quality transparency. Tools and technologies that facilitate “shopping” for healthcare and knowledge-sharing at the point of care will support the urgency of these demands.
Healthcare’s consumerization will generate the demand for convenience, a trend that has revolutionized numerous other industries. Digitization of patient care through technological innovation will enable proactive and connected care, spurring better outcomes. Health information and services integrated across the care continuum are increasingly accessible to users right at their fingertips: from scheduling a virtual clinical visit on a smartphone to accessing clinical information in a patient portal.
The FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources) protocol will help guide data exchange and will be used in partnership with other standards to ease persistent interoperability challenges and the continued growth of telehealth.
In the value-based context, we’ll also see employers, payers and providers encouraging patients to play a more active role in their own care and wellness management via various technology solutions in areas such as wearables, direct education, gamification, app-facilitated reminders and communication, medical records access, and healthy rewards.
As technology and health giants seek to compile, organize, integrate, and deliver data in the most useful format for patients and industry stakeholders, they’ll need to address growing concerns about security. Tomorrow’s demands for convenient access must be balanced with a resolute commitment to security.
Multifactor authentication must be the cybersecurity baseline, offering several layers of defense while giving everyone a low-friction experience to facilitate easy access to health information.
Focus on Consumerization Equals Knowing the Whole Patient
Just as patient-generated health data from wearables will provide additional information to clinicians, social determinants of health will add another dimension to both patient care and cost and use of services. Attributes relating to where patients live, learn, work and play will factor into development of next year’s care management paradigms.
After all, as much as 80 percent of the conditions that impact a person’s health are due to socioeconomic, environmental, or behavioral factors. By leveraging this data and related insights, healthcare stakeholders in primary care, specialty, pharmacy and hospital environments can make predictions and identify specific needs to tailor personalized solutions for improved outcomes.
Finally, the outcome of the 2020 presidential election will significantly impact the path of our healthcare system moving forward. While policies structured to combat coverage and cost concerns in 2020 are likely to remain uncertain during the election year, one thing’s for sure: technology innovation will drive the provision of efficient and high-quality healthcare for Americans. At LexisNexis Health Care, we’re committed to this effort and inspired to activate another year of innovation with data analytics solutions.