In 2017, we watched the beginning of a trend toward value-based and patient-centered care, but where is healthcare delivery headed in the coming months? As 2018 unfolds, we at swyMed expect continued growth in patient-centered care, particularly in the following areas:
New entrants from outside healthcare
The healthcare industry has long been an insider’s club. The reams of regulations, the complexity of human medical conditions, the mix of empathy, advanced technology, staff development and training, and dumb luck rewards those with experience managing the many competing demands. But we see 2018 as a year for somebody new to enter the health arena and shake things up. A few years ago, Google and Microsoft gave it a brief shot and then left. Apple and Samsung are dabbling with consumer-facing medical-light watches. Someone with enterprise skills, deep pockets, and a strong consumer focus will enter to remake healthcare as we know it…say Amazon?
The healthcare industry has begun emphasizing maximizing wellness, cost savings, efficiency, and productivity. To this end, healthcare payers have become more proactive in seeking expanded reimbursement guidelines and pursuing solutions that reduce hospital readmissions and non-essential transports, such as participation in accountable care organizations, collaborating with other healthcare systems outside the local region as well as coaching and educating patients on follow-up care.
Healthcare beyond the hospital and medical facilities
Healthcare consumers are increasingly expecting the convenience and reliability of an instant online connection for non-emergency care in everyday settings such as their homes, workplaces, and schools. Other innovative organizations are making inroads in chronic care management, community paramedicine, mobile telestroke, tele pre-surgical consultations, long-term care facilities and even drugstores.
Consumer-friendly mobile medical devices
The current lack of medical devices in the patient’s home, such as a blood pressure monitor, heart rate monitor, stethoscope, or otoscope, combined with the lack of training to operate such equipment, remain a barrier to extensive adoption of in-home telemedicine. Healthcare delivery is evolving toward reliance on mobile applications that use a combination of these medical instruments and wearables to enable better point-of-care decision making, but the data must be gathered and made available for the physician to use in the first place. The introduction of high-quality, consumer-priced, consumer-operated devices would be a game-changer, smoothing the way for broad adoption of telemedicine within patient homes and safety-net providers such as community health centers.
With the move from traditional fee-for-service reimbursement in hospitals and clinics to patient-centered care in homes and everyday settings, we are witnessing a massive paradigm shift in the way healthcare is delivered. We at swyMed are ready — how about you?