Wondering what 2016 will bring healthcare providers? With the new year comes a whole new set of trends for physicians.
The annual top health industry issues report from PwC’s Health Research Institute delves into the forecasted healthcare industry trends for 2016. While many of these trends will look familiar from last year, 2016 promises exponential adoption of health technology like mobile health apps and telemedicine.
Here are the five most important trends for physicians. Jump on board to keep up!
Mobile Health Apps
The adoption of mobile health apps will continue to rise in 2016, after doubling from 16% in 2013 to 32% in 2015. Physicians are particularly catching on to the how mobile health monitors and activity trackers can help them improve patient care and treatment adherence remotely. This can be a huge tool for doctors who are increasingly overloaded and may not be able to get patients with chronic conditions into the office as frequently as they’d like.
mHealth apps are also key for preventive care - devices like FitBit and apps like MyFitnessPal keep patients aware and engaged with improving their diet and exercise. While we’ve seen a rise in patients adopting these tools, 2016 will see more physicians actively “prescribing” these apps to patients who aren’t yet using them. As the industry moves away from the fee-for-service model, mHealth tools can help physicians improve their quality of care and consequently keep reimbursement up.
Growth of Telemedicine for Mental Health
PwC found that 72% of patients ages 18 to 44 and 43% of patients ages 45 and older would be willing to use telemedicine services to consult with a mental health physician virtually rather than an in-office visit. And with the current shortage of mental health professionals in the U.S., this is a huge opportunity for psychiatrists and therapists to expand their practice and improve access to mental healthcare.
Telepsychiatry could help provide urgent, on-demand mental healthcare for patients who need it, and extend off-hours care.
New Strategies for Lower-cost Care
In 2016, look for more partnerships among health systems and providers, including independently practicing physicians, hospitals, and clinics, to offer lower-cost care. Hospitals are encouraging a shift away from costly inpatient care. Instead, hospitals will need to rely on relationships with other clinics and physicians to transfer patients to outpatient care settings.
Other related things we’re likely to see? More community hospitals, bedless hospitals, virtual care centers, and retail clinics - which all emphasize outpatient treatments as a way to reduce healthcare costs.
Increased Sharing of Patient Records
As electronic health records (EHRs) are becoming the standard for most healthcare providers, physicians can more easily share patients’ medical records with other physicians. This means better care coordination, especially for patients with complex cases and multiple chronic conditions.
If you're late to adoption and or aren't happy with your EHR, be sure to check out our recent infographic on the best EHRs for physicians.
Increased Price Transparency and Cost Efficiency
According to PwC, 66% of patients have never discussed the price of the visit with their physician or nurse. 57% have never brought up the price of a prescription, and 60% haven’t asked about the price of a procedure. Considering the current cost of healthcare services, this is a problem for everyone.
In 2016, we’re likely to see a rise in more patients acting as informed consumers and discussing the price of healthcare with their providers. Healthcare providers will need to get better about considering cost as one of the factors when deciding treatment.
But what about your costs? Controlling medical practice costs is also top of the list for physicians in 2016, another year of shifting ground for the healthcare industry. Physicians, especially practice owners, will need to a good handle on practice spending and how to maintain practice profitability.
Need some help adapting to these 2016 trends and making this year a successful one? Check out our articles below: