Future Trends—Threats or Opportunities?


Futurists identify hard trends and build prognostications around what will take place. They also use the identification of hard trends to seize opportunities in order to transform businesses. 

It’s easy to point out trends taking place in the healthcare industry because there are so many.

During AHLA’s Transactions program in Nashville this week, that was certainly the theme as the sessions focused on trends that are changing the industry. 

Here are seven trends we believe will have the greatest impact:

  1. Consumers are driving change in healthcare. As quality and cost information is made available to consumers, they are able to make informed decisions about their care. 
  2. New payment rules are changing the way providers are paid, and in many cases that affects the way care is delivered and how providers work with each other.
  3. The new site-neutral provisions that take effect in 2017 change the rules in payment and alter the consolidation landscape. In addition, more reimbursement will move to alternative payment models, with roughly half of Medicare dollars tied to APMs in just a couple of years.
  4. Technologies have created opportunities for many procedures once thought of as only available on an inpatient basis to be moved to the outpatient setting. Not only are costs lower in the outpatient setting, they are more convenient for the patient. As a result, hospitals are seeing common, high volume procedures move into these outpatient settings.
  5. How about the Affordable Care Act? Not only are revenues impacted, but costs are also driving change. The high cost of meeting the compliance requirements and other challenges of the ACA are burdening providers and driving some of the consolidation in the market. It is unlikely to go away; chances are good that the ACA won’t be repealed—the more likely outcome is that some provisions may be chipped away, leaving most of the law and implementing regulations intact.
  6. Medicaid expansion is another topic interest. Of the 32 million uninsured in the U.S., the majority are in non-expansion states. We think expansion in most of the remaining non-expansion states will happen after the 2016 presidential election. Regardless of the outcome, after the election, many red states are likely to expand — quietly.
  7. Technologies accelerate change, and the healthcare industry is not exempt from this change. One such result—telemedicine—may be tempered by reimbursement policies, with the largest payer dictating how this service fares.

Of these trends, consumerism is gaining the most attention.  Stay tuned for my next blog about the struggle with price transparency, and the fact that consumers will demand increased transparency to make decisions about care.

The market is disruptive.  That means there is endless opportunity. 

Take action now and let us help you be the disrupter, not the disrupted. 


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Topics: Quality Improvement, Affordable Care Act Summary

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