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4 most important healthcare trends in 2018 

4 most important healthcare trends in 2018  | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

To say that it has been a tumultuous year for the healthcare industry is an understatement. Federal policy changes and recent transactions involving large insurers, health systems and retailers will affect providers, payers and patients alike.

 

While there are many new and emerging trends we need to pay close attention to in 2018, here are what I think are the four most significant issues that will command our attention in the year ahead.

 

1. Inconsistent healthcare policy will continue to dominate the headlines

 The federal debacle with so-called healthcare reform this year has been a case study in confusion, inefficiency and lack of focus. Every week seemed to bring a new twist in the direction of healthcare policy, especially in regards to the ACA, with almost no consistency to the legislative thought process. In many ways, the whole focus of ACA repeal and replace efforts was misguided — you can't take something apart without some ideas for a replacement. The federal government's lack of direction on healthcare policy has created chaos among all industry players.

 

Given the healthcare provisions in the proposed tax bill and potential future action with the ACA, there are serious implications for states across the country. The confusion surrounding Medicaid and other joint federal-state partnerships has discombobulated state budgets, and it is patients who will ultimately face the harshest consequences if states are forced to slash funding for healthcare.

 

For the foreseeable future, we're going to continue to see inconsistency in government policies and funding. This is especially dangerous for hospitals in underserved communities that rely almost exclusively on Medicaid and Medicare funding. Unless they are supported in some way, many of these providers will sink deeper into debt.

 

2. In order to keep pace with newly formed organizations and partnerships, hospitals and health systems need to innovate

 

The CVS-Aetna deal did not come as a surprise to industry leaders who have been keeping their ears to the ground and have paid attention to recent trends. But nevertheless, this merger is a major shake-up that cannot be ignored. Google, Amazon and IBM Watson are all looking to stake out a piece of the healthcare field, and deals such as  Optum's purchase of DaVita Medical Group underscore the ever-evolving nature of the ways people access and pay for care and services. Providers should not view this movement as a threat that must be stopped. Instead, we should spur innovation on our end. We can't sit still. That's why, in Northwell Health's case, we have been forging new partnerships and pursuing ventures that will enable the organization to compete more effectively in this rapidly changing environment. 

 

It will be especially intriguing to see what market segments CVS and Aetna pursue after the merger is finalized. Undoubtedly, they will offer prescriptions, preventive care and other primary services to supplement CVS' "Minute Clinics," but it remains to be seen what other health services will be provided as part of this new collaboration. Regardless of what new competitors enter the healthcare market, the seriously ill, elderly patients with chronic conditions and those who have suffered traumatic injuries will still be relying on hospitals to take care of them. It's highly unlikely that any of the new players will be providing inpatient care. As we all know, the bulk of healthcare funding is spent on long-term care for people at the end of life. The Amazons and Googles of the world are not targeting that population.

 

Recognizing that traditional healthcare providers do need to adapt to this era of consumerism, among my strategies are to continue expanding our ambulatory network, facilitating innovative partnerships, enhancing efforts in prevention, maximizing our use of artificial or augmented intelligence, and improving our already robust telemedicine program.

 

In the end, I believe competition is good. Market disruptions give all of us headaches, but they are ultimately beneficial because they force us to do better and be more efficient, productive and creative

 

3. Unless we continue to improve the customer experience, customers will go elsewhere for care

 

The more competitive the market becomes, the more work we as providers must do to continually improve the patient experience and develop customer loyalty. This can partly be done through improving communication and curating a more retail-focused experience.

 

This is unbelievably important, as patients now have more access and choice for their healthcare than ever before. This is not limited to the in-person experience, but also how hospitals and health systems communicate with patients to help them get information and make appointments. Online and mobile platforms are already important for engaging customers, and they will only grow more essential in 2018.

 

Online engagement is not only for younger patients. It's a medium that has become increasingly more effective than print or broadcast advertising for reaching older patients. Equally important is creating an experience that connects families with providers. We deliver more than 40,000 babies every year in our health system. Those are 40,000 families with whom we could be creating life-long bonds. Pursuing initiatives to maintain a connection with mothers and families is essential.

 

Over the past five or six years, we've seen major changes in the way innovative organizations in all industries treat their customers. For far too long in our industry, there was a pervasive attitude of, "We're hospitals, or we're physicians, people will always come because we’re here in the community," but those days are over. Consumers don't want to be told when to come or what to do – they want to access care and services on their terms, not ours. We are in the consumer service business, and our patients are educated and knowledgeable. They value easy access, a pleasant experience and quality care, so it's our job to adapt quickly to meet their needs and expectations. 

 

4. Strategies about "healthcare" must now encompass behavioral and mental health

 

As social stigmas surrounding mental health begin to break down and more people feel comfortable confronting behavioral health issues, it is the responsibility of providers to design their systems in a way that addresses the needs of these individuals. This is especially important at a time when opioid abuse has become one of this nation's most-challenging public health crises.

 

The problem goes beyond drug and alcohol abuse. For instance, studies have shown that younger generations' increased use of technology, particularly mobile devices, can lead to increased rates of anxiety, depression or loneliness. We as providers must consider these trends and tailor services accordingly, as more and more patients turn to us seeking care for issues that are destroying lives and breaking up families. All of us need to do a better job developing and training staff to meet this demand, especially when it comes to screening those who are trying to hide their addictions to opioids. It entails not only psychiatrists but nurses, social workers, case managers and other clinicians.

 

Regardless of the issues we face in this ever-evolving industry, we as providers must not resist change. We must continually adapt — those that don't will get left behind.

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:
Contact Details :

inquiry@technicaldr.com or 877-910-0004
www.technicaldr.com

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7 Ways Health Informatics Transforms Health Care

7 Ways Health Informatics Transforms Health Care | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

It is amazing how technology intertwines with the health sector. Just a few years ago, nobody could predict how the development of technology would drive health care innovation.  Now we see that nearly everything in the health care industry derives from these transformations. Health informatics, for example, has had a significant impact on the management, handling, and storage of health care information. It is on the forefront of enabling ease in communication and coordination of activities within health facilities.

Below are some of the reasons to celebrate the impact health informatics has had on health care.

1. Health informatics improve coordination

If you have been to a healthcare facility recently, you probably know that specializations in the medical profession have increased significantly. This increase led to a rise in departmental divisions within hospitals, including telemedicine solution providers. These divisions require record-keeping that is coordinated across departments and easy to update.  Indeed, without health informatics hospitals would be in total chaos. You can imagine what would happen if, for example, you arrived in an X-ray room rather than the referred maternity ward!  Health informatics, through a channel of organized electronic facilities, allows easy transfer of patient information from one department to another for better communication and minimal error.

2. Health informatics is cost effective

Lack of coordination and resulting delays waste a lot of money.  Research has shown that hospitals spend significant amounts dealing with recurring procedures and errors due to inadequate information-sharing. A proper health informatics system minimizes such mishaps. This is because effective communication gives health care facilities the ability to carry out operations between departments without error.  The fact that the communication is electronic also eliminates delays in relaying updates between departments.  Therefore, health informatics systems decrease unnecessary spending.

3. Health informatics enables population health management

Consistency in keeping health records enables health professionals to analyze and compare common diseases that affect the general population. It also helps medical providers keep track of these illnesses and carefully design strategies to counter potential epidemics. Furthermore, the consistency achieved through health informatics makes it easier to carry out an evaluation of patients with common conditions and thus determine what treatment is most effective for the present, as well as develop procedures for the future.

4. Health informatics increases patient involvement

Through health informatics, patients have electronic access their health records. Electronic records give patients a chance to be more informed of their conditions and consider their health matters more seriously. They also allow patients to be more vigilant about the dos and don’ts regarding their treatment. Patients can interact with health practitioners through online portals, and specialists can have quick one-on-one consultations with a patient, even when the patient cannot be present at the health facility.

5. Health informatics improves efficiency

Improved efficiency is the key achievement of health informatics.  With hard-copy records, you have to wade through piles of paper files to trace records entered only a few days ago.  Using electronic systems to record and store data has proven to be the best way to keep high-quality authentic records that are easily accessible and useful far into the future.  And they definitely take up less space!  Similarly, automation of some activities empowers health professionals to make easier diagnoses and reduces fatigue from repetitive tasks. This allows doctors and nurses more productive time with their patients, resulting in better care.

6. Health informatics increases medical knowledge

Health informatics enables health care providers to gain knowledge systematically through continuously monitoring patients. For example, doctors can use electronic records to evaluate the effectiveness of certain drugs on some diseases and even individuals. This means they can more easily design the best treatment plans after considering a given sample of patients.  Then they can share the results of their analysis and treatment with the other health care providers in their system, facilitating innovations in health care.

7. Health informatics expands the margin of care

Because health informatics uses information about the patient’s medical history stored electronically, it is easy for a new doctor or nurse to understand the patient’s condition quickly. Such records are accurate and up-to-date — updated every time the patient visits the facility. This extends the ability to treat a patient effectively to any available medical practitioner, improving the speed and responsiveness of patient care.

There is no doubt about it, health informatics is steering a revolution that will see systematic improvement in the efficiency and reliability of care that health professionals are able to provide for their patients.

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:
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inquiry@technicaldr.com or 877-910-0004
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6 Ways Health Informatics Is Transforming Health Care

6 Ways Health Informatics Is Transforming Health Care | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

The fact that technology is rapidly transforming health care should come as no surprise to anyone. From robotic arms that perform surgery tonanorobots that deliver drugs through the bloodstream, the days of being tended to by the human country doctor seem to have fully given way to machines and software more in keeping with the tools of Dr. McCoy from “Star Trek.”

 

However, technology’s evolutionary impact on health care isn’t all shooting stars and bells and whistles. Some of health care’s most important changes can slip beneath the radar due to their more pedestrian presentation, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t just as revolutionary as mini robots zipping through veins. Take the burgeoning field of health informatics, for example. A specialization that combines communications, information technology, and health care to improve patient care, it’s at the forefront of the current technological shift in medicine. Here are six ways it’s already transforming health care.

 

1. Dramatic Savings

Health care isn’t just expensive; it’s wasteful. It’s estimated that half of all medical expenditures are squandered on account of repeat procedures, the expenses associated with more traditional methods of sharing information, delays in care, errors in care or delivery, and the like. With an electronic and connected system in place, much of that waste can be curbed. From lab results that reach their destination sooner improving better an more timely care delivery to reduced malpractice claims, health informatics reduces errors, increases communication, and drives efficiency where before there was costly incompetence and obstruction.

 

2. Shared Knowledge

There’s a reason medicine is referred to as a “practice,” and it’s because health care providers are always learning more and honing their skills. Health informatics provides a way for knowledge about patients, diseases, therapies, medicines, and the like to be more easily shared. As knowledge is more readily passed back and forth between providers and patients, the practice of medicine gets better — something that aids everyone within the chain of care, from hospital administrators and physicians to pharmacists and patients.

 

3. Patient Participation

When patients have electronic access to their own health history and recommendations, it empowers them to take their role in their own health care more seriously. Patients who have access to care portals are able to educate themselves more effectively about their diagnoses and prognoses, while also keeping better track of medications and symptoms. They are also able to interact with doctors and nurses more easily, which yields better outcomes, as well. Health informatics allows individuals to feel like they are a valuable part of their own health care team, because they are.

 

4. The Impersonalization of Care

One criticism of approaching patient care through information and technology is that care is becoming less and less personal. Instead of a doctor getting to know a patient in real time and space in order to best offer care, the job of “knowing” is placed on data and algorithms.

As data is gathered regarding a patient, algorithms can be used to sort it in order to determine what is wrong and what care should be offered. It remains to be seen what effects this data-driven approach will have over time, but regardless, since care is getting less personal, having a valid and accurate record that the patient and his care providers can access remains vital.  

 

5. Increased Coordination

Health care is getting more and more specialized, which means most patients receive care from as many as a dozen different people in one hospital stay. This increase in specialists requires an increase in coordination, and it’s health informatics that provides the way forward. Pharmaceutical concerns, blood levels, nutrition, physical therapy, X-rays, discharge instructions — it’s astonishing how many different conversations a single patient may have with a team of people regarding care, and unless those conversations and efforts are made in tandem with one another, problems will arise and care will suffer. Health informatics makes the necessary coordination possible.  

 

6. Improved Outcomes

The most important way in which informatics is changing health care is in improved outcomes. Electronic medical records result in higher quality care and safer care as coordinated teams provide better diagnoses and decrease the chance for errors. Doctors and nurses are able to increase efficiency, which frees up time to spend with patients, and previously manual jobs and tasks are automated, which saves time and money — not just for hospitals, clinics, and providers, but for patients, insurance companies, and state and federal governments, too.  

 

Health care is undergoing a massive renovation thanks to technology, and health informatics is helping to ensure that part of the change results in greater efficiency, coordination, and improved care.

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:
Contact Details :

inquiry@technicaldr.com or 877-910-0004
www.technicaldr.com

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Barbara Lond's curator insight, December 22, 2017 3:42 PM
Contact Details :

inquiry@technicaldr.com or 877-910-0004
www.technicaldr.com