Between the growing wearable tech market, MACRA, blockchain, and… wait, what was the last one, oh yeah, a Donald Trump presidency! -Healthcare in America will be going through some radical changes this year.
To help gain some insight into those changes, let’s dig into 5 Healthcare trends to watch in 2017.
To ACA or AHCA… that is the question
Since day one of his campaign, repealing the Affordable Care Act, or as many people know it, Obamacare, has been one of President Trump’s key issues. Fast-forward to March 6, 2017, and the Republicans unveil their answer to the ACA, the American Health Care Act.
Simply put, the AHCA was a resounding failure out of the gates, and on March 24 the bill was withdrawn after it failed to gain enough Republican support to win the vote. Currently, Democrats and supporters of the ACA are breathing a sigh of relief, but, the bill has been amended again while I’ve been writing this and it’s clear that this issue won’t be going away anytime soon.
Telehealth use will continue to expand
Moving on to a less heated topic. Telehealth or remote care is becoming increasingly popular. One study estimates that by the end of 2017 the number of people using Telehealth services will have doubled from 30 million to 60 million and according to the National Business Group on Health, 90% of large employers in states where telehealth services are available will begin providing them to their employees this year.
Google, YouTube, and Siri are conditioning people to want their information immediately, without having to leave their home or office. That shift is becoming clearly evident in the healthcare industry.
Healthcare, meet the internet of things
Predictive or preventive healthcare has always been an uphill battle and lapses in care with some patients have been nearly impossible to avoid. However, recent advances in wearable tech, the internet of things, and big data analytics are coming together to solve those problems.
It’s estimated that healthcare spending on IoT solutions could top $120 billion by the end of 2020. The reason behind this sudden increase is the possibility for providing greater continuance in care while simultaneously reducing the need for direct visits to your doctor(a.k.a. A win/win).
Value-based payment will be on everyone’s mind
There are two major changes to healthcare payments on everyone’s mind this year. One is MACRA, a merit-based payment system for doctors and physicians introduced by President Obama in 2015 that is set to take full effect by the end of the year. The other, a shift in pharmaceutical payments to a value-based model that’s favored by President Trump.
There simply isn’t enough room in this article to cover both of those topics, but, to learn more you can check out this handy infographic on MACRA and this excellent article that sheds some light on what value-based pricing in pharmaceuticals might look like.
Blockchain may set the standard for EHR
EHR or electronic health records have been causing a lot of fuss recently for two reasons, the first of which being, our current systems for handling them are sluggish, outdated, inconvenient, and not particularly secure. The second reason, MACRA. If you just checked out that infographic, you’ll know that EHR is about to have a big effect on a physician’s p-a-y. So, where does blockchain fit in?
For those of you who don’t know, Blockchain is the name of a type of database that stores values without repetition. The information is stored in blocks(technically called records) that are timestamped and linked together.
So, using EHR as an example, every time an EHR stored in blockchain is updated, instead of editing the file, a whole new file will be created that links back to the previous version. This way, health records and any other information stored in blockchain will not only be nearly impossible to tamper with, it will also be exceptionally easy to navigate.
It’s hard to say what the Healthcare industry will look like come 2018, but, a couple things are certain, there are significant changes ahead both politically and technologically, and if you want to ensure you’re getting the best care, you need to keep informed.