4 Healthcare Trends to be Aware of

Joe Weinlick
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The healthcare industry is rapidly growing and expanding, as the most prominent 2014 healthcare trends suggest. The evolution of healthcare trends make for an eventful year for a variety of reasons. The use of health coaches and healthcare mobile applications are just some examples, as is the shift away from hospital-centered healthcare and new payment models.

In place of nurses or doctors, health coaches are in high demand and represent the most notable 2014 healthcare trend. This relatively new form of healthcare employment and fast-growing healthcare trend helps to close a gap in the current management of various health conditions, especially among patients with chronic conditions. The main role of a health coach is to establish a personal one-on-one relationship with patients while informing clinical staff about any housing problems, financial concerns, family issues or other potential obstacles in following a prescribed care plan. Another 2014 healthcare trend is the growing use of healthcare mobile applications among patients and medical professionals. For patients, using health-related mobile applications is not only empowering, but also enables effective monitoring of various aspects of their health, from counting calories to measuring heart rate. Innovative applications for more serious conditions are being developed for future use.

Another notable 2014 healthcare trend is a shift away from hospital-centered healthcare, primarily because of the increasing demand for home care. An increasing emphasis on preventative measures may signal a steady decline for hospital health care in the coming years as hospitals begin to offer more outpatient treatment options when possible. Although it is likely that hospital health care will not become irrelevant over time, certain needs, such as physical therapy, senior care, disability needs and various basic non-intensive care, can become more affordable through home care. The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that job openings for home health aides, entry-level health professionals who often work under a registered nurse, have an anticipated growth rate of 48 percent by 2022.

Continued development and expansion of new healthcare and payment models is another hallmark feature of 2014 healthcare trends. Medicare, insurance companies and certain Medicaid programs are continually striving for more relationships with Accountable Care Organizations. Many organizations are experimenting with different payment models, such as shared savings, bundled payment and patient-centered medical homes. This anticipated trend favors shared-savings incentives with physicians due to an increase in patient satisfaction and lowered cost.

As 2014 enters into the final quarter, the evolution of healthcare has become increasingly noteworthy. Some of the hottest topics include the growing demand for health coaches, along with an increasing use of health-related mobile applications among patients and healthcare providers. Many of these 2014 healthcare trends are paving the way for new and improved healthcare in 2015.


Photo courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net



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