Health care has come under media scrutiny quite frequently this year; with the Obama health care initiative taking center stage in 2012 and the Supreme Court decision over the health care law making headlines, many are wondering what the state of health care looks like in 2012 and beyond.
As a result of health care industry chatter, many trends in health care have become apparent. Here are the top ten trends in health care management this year:
1. Cost-cutting focus
In 2012 and the years to come, health care facilities are being forced to cut costs just to stay open. The Camden Group predicts that hospitals will have to cut operating costs by 10 to 20 percent in the next three to five years in order to carry on. Additionally, the amount of co-management agreements will increase dramatically, as these contracts can help to offset costs. Though there will still be jobs available for those who have completed a Master's Degree in Health Care Administration, health care facilities will be looking for the sharpest of candidates in order to ensure safe hiring decisions.
Technology is becoming increasingly important in the health care industry, as recent technological advancements have had positive impact on health care administrations, treatments and more. As technology brings better treatment options for patients and more efficiency to health care facilities of all sizes, IT jobs in the health care industry are booming. Similarly, IT managers will be carrying more responsibilities in the health care industry; not only will it be required of IT professionals to know and understand the latest technological advancements, IT management will also be tasked with making key business decisions as they apply to technology.
3. Drug shortage becomes top priority
Apprehension about patient care and protection increases as the drug shortages grow at a rapid pace. Two studies in 2010 and 2011 found “99 percent of U.S. hospitals had experienced one or more drug shortages.” Hospitals and health care management have still spent millions of dollars on eleventh-hour replacement medications, despite planning well ahead of time. In 2012 and the years to come, the drug shortage will become a top priority as the issue becomes more evident.
As social media grows world-wide, the use of social media in health care is also on the rise. Health care facilities are beginning to use social media networks to reach their patients and prospective patients. Health care facilities have joined in creating useful content like infographics, videos and slideshows for patients and the general public regarding health issues. Additionally, hospitals are joining social media sites to share research, news and events with both patients and employees. Also, more and more people are using social media to connect with others who share similar health care issues and hardships, seeking friendship and support with their circumstances.
5. Population health management strategies to advert readmissions
Health care facilities have begun using health management analytics to prevent readmissions, and this will continue at a growing pace. Health care management professionals have come to the realization that there is a strong connection between population health management and readmissions reduction. As a result, health care providers are focusing on avertable readmissions. By keeping the number of readmissions down, costs and patient waiting times are reduced, while doctor and health care professional time is freed to care for additional patients.
6. Privacy becomes more important
In recent years, patient privacy has become an issue in many health care facilities. Due to breaches and violations, patients are becoming more educated in health care privacy. In addition, people are citing privacy and security policies as an important factor in choosing a hospital. Though cost, admission and quality are all of concern to health care patients, privacy and security don’t fall far behind. As a result, health care management must be on top of privacy policies.
Health care facilities have been doing their best to comply with all state and federal laws, in hopes to not accrue any fines or further actions. Additionally, in an attempt to attract to customers, health care facilities have been paying careful attention to compliance laws – conscious of media backlash.
8. Process improvements
Like using analytical data to support population health management to advert readmission, health care processes will continue to be refined to be more efficient and effective. Improving processes ties back to cutting costs, privacy concerns and compliance to state and federal laws as buttoning up processes will help with all three. Overall, being more resourceful and creating seamless processes is now the focus and will continue to be in the coming years.
9. Implementation of technological advancements
In addition to the increasing responsibilities of IT management in health care, implementation of new technology is also a trend that we will continue to see more of in the health care industry. While many health care facilities have moved to electronic medical records, many are still working to put this feature into practice. Many hospitals still do not have online billing capabilities, which is a feature many patients have grown accustomed to. Moreover, health care facilities are also working to employ the latest technological treatment options to better serve patients.
Health care managers are now expected to have more than master’s degree in health care administration. Health care facilities expect mastery of skills learned in higher education, but also leadership skills that can’t necessarily be taught. Health care leadership responsibilities will include cross-functional abilities that allow individuals to comprehend other main functions of the health care organization. Additionally, leadership capability and the ability to integrate with others to achieve multiple business goals are becoming increasingly important.
While completing your Master's Degree in Health Care Administration, be sure to keep these health care trends in mind to better prepare yourself for the workforce. Trends in the health care industry in 2012 are expected to carry on for the next few years, with cutting costs and efficiency at the top of the list. Health care organizations are working to improve processes, implement the most advanced technology available and hire qualified leaders to better serve business needs.