Healthcare is Being Influenced by These Trending Developments

Julie Shenkman
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Despite uncertain times in the health care industry due to the Affordable Care Act and because of the way care is provided to patients, health care providers have noted several trending developments. Many of these trends deal with technology and consumers in new ways with respect to delivery of services.

One key facet of the health care industry revolves around innovative technology. Researchers, health care leaders and engineers must collaborate to move hospitals into the 21st century. Digitized medical records, better medical procedures that reduce risks to patients and more efficient ways to treat people can help reduce overall costs while protecting the overall health of patients.

Physician-relationship management talks about a hospital's way to use data analytics to monitor how a doctor refers patients for different services. This ability to call up data on a moment's notice can assist budget directors, stakeholders and executives to make better investments in services down the line after patients leave the hospital. For instance, if doctors create an overburdened schedule in one specialist's office due to dozens of referrals, perhaps hospitals can urge referrals to other doctors with the same specialty to ease the schedule of the busy office. This creates quality, not quantity, within the health care industry.

Providers must find a balance of pay systems as integration of delivery of services changes. With more patients thanks to the ACA, more people will seek care. Not everyone fits into the fee-for-service mold or the pay-for-performance model. Billing systems can update to follow these payment trends.

Wellness is a buzzword, and one of the biggest trending developments, among health care industry organizations. The value of preventive medicine to keep citizens healthier, more active and more productive saves more time, money and effort later by reducing time spent in the hospital. Health care groups must partner with local entities to provide educational initiatives that allow people to make choices about their health before a hospital trip becomes necessary.

Hospitals should invest in more population health standards that keep groups, not just individuals, healthier. Protocols get put in place to safeguard the overall health of a community and to help prevent the spread of disease and sickness. These initiatives can be consumer-based technology such as smartphone apps, or basic hygienic programs at schools, among others.

All of these trends in the health care industry boil down to consumer engagement. How well hospitals and systems relate to consumers depends on whether or not people take action based on certain programs. Technology that connects to smartphones, apps and mobile computing marks the way of the future that is already here for health care groups to use.

Community leaders in hospitals, clinics and interest groups must be proactive to move the industry along. Reducing costs while increasing quality may not represent a popular plan. However, healthier citizens are the goal of every municipality. Education, awareness and resources assist ordinary people to make health care decisions on their own before a doctor's visit occurs.

The health care industry stands at a crossroads. Traditional paradigms of patient care are still applicable, but the response to current trends may dictate how well hospitals survive and thrive in the future.


Photo courtesy of Nutdanai Apikhomboonwaroot at



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