From rising premiums to existing and new legislation health care is a multi-faceted area that affects every American. For those working in the health care field, particularly health care administrators, staying abreast of changes is vital. Here’s a look at the five trends that health care professionals should prepare for in 2017:
1. Rising Costs
Healthcare costs are on the rise, with a 6.5 percent increase in medical costs predicted for 2017. As plans get more expensive, businesses are looking for ways to reduce costs, which includes asking employees to pick up more of the tab, according to a report from PwC.1
Medical facilities are also seeing higher overhead, all while receiving less reimbursement from programs like Medicare and Medicaid. With health facilities receiving less funding to cover costs for Medicare patients, profit margins are diminishing.2
The shifting landscape will force many healthcare administrators to look for ways to cut operating costs. Given the dramatic shift, decisions to cut a position or two won’t close the gap, so administrators will have to create a comprehensive approach to trim budgets in every department.
2. Physician Shortage
According to a report released by the Association of American Medical Colleges, a shortage of 46,000 to 90,000 physicians in both primary and specialty care is expected by 2025.
This doctor shortage could be particularly challenging for healthcare administrators as they work to recruit and retain healthcare staff, especially when combined with the increasing demands for health care by a growing and aging population.
Telemedicine, which uses telecommunication technology to make diagnoses and recommend treatments remotely, has been talked about for years, but 2017 could be the year it starts taking hold.
An estimated 78 million consumers could utilize home health technology by 2020, and many experts believe telemedicine could reduce costs for patients with chronic illnesses.4
For example, Banner Health gave its most chronic patients tablets to track vitals at home and access to healthcare providers on the phone or online as needed. The program resulted in reduced hospital stays and long-term care, saving the facility 27 percent on patient costs.5
Healthcare administrators may need to complete a cost/benefit analysis of such programs to investigate possible savings.
4. Greater Collaboration
The health care industry has moved toward value-based care, which provides incentives to keep patients healthy and eliminate additional costs.
More facilities are forming partnerships with other providers to keep costs down. A hospital may partner with a community clinic, for example, to connect low-income patients with providers that offer the most affordable services.6
Healthcare administrators will likely investigate more partnerships to access viability and return on investment.
5. Increased Cybersecurity Needs
As more medical facilities implement electronic medical and health records, they become increasingly vulnerable to cyber criminals.
Cyber attacks have hit providers large and small. Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield announced a massive hack, affecting more than 10 million patients, in 2015.7 Premier Health care reported a possible breach to patient records when a laptop containing information on up to 200,000 patients was stolen.8
Data breaches in health care totaled more than 112 million records in 2015, and it’s a trend that’s still on the rise.9
Healthcare administrators will need to recruit skilled professionals to prevent such attacks.
To become part of the exciting, growing field of health care as an administrator, consider the online Health Care Administration Master’s at Utica College program. You can request more information online or call 315.732.2640 or toll free at 866.295.3106.
1 Medical Cost Trend. PwC. http://www.pwc.com/us/en/health-industries/health-research-institute/behind-the-numbers.html.
2 Rising Health Care Costs: Why We Have to Change. Health Catalyst. https://www.healthcatalyst.com/hospitals-solve-rising-healthcare-costs.
3 New Physician Workforce Projections. AAMC. https://www.aamc.org/newsroom/newsreleases/426166/20150303.html.
4 Home Health Technology Report. Tractica. https://www.tractica.com/newsroom/press-releases/more-than-78-million-consumers-will-utilize-home-health-technologies-by-2020/.
5 Banner Health Achieves 27% Cost of Care Savings with TeleHealth. Phillips. http://www.usa.philips.com/a-w/government/articles/Banner-Health-achieves-cost-of-care-savings-with-telehealth.html.
6 Healthcare Becomes Value-based Hospital Partners with Clinic. AHC. https://www.ahcmedia.com/articles/138653-as-healthcare-becomes-value-based-hospital-partners-with-the-community-for-patient-care.
7 This Big US Health Insurer Just Got Hacked. Fortune. http://fortune.com/2015/09/10/hack-health-insurer-bluecross/.
8 Premier Healthcare Faces Possible Data Breach. HealthCareITNews. http://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/premier-healthcare-faces-possible-data-breach-could-affect-200000-patients.