With the new year around the corner, here's a look at 10 healthcare trends to watch, and 10 action items to ensure you don't get caught off-guard.
Surthriving in medical practice means practicing Othercare. One element is to be sensitive to rapid change in the environment and adapt. PwC has saved you trouble and outlined the future. Here are some ways to respond:
1. 2016 is the year of merger mania. High-profile mergers and acquisitions likely will continue in 2016, with regulators taking center stage in the debate over how consolidation impacts consumers.
Item: If you are an employed physician, think about how consolidation will impact you. If you are in independent physician, consider consolidating with others to garner market share and negotiating power.
2. Goldilocks comes to drug prices. Reminiscent of the proverbial story of Goldilocks, the search is on for a drug pricing formula that is “just right.”
Item: What will that drug you just prescribed cost your patients and how can you make it easier for them?
3. Care in the palm of your hand. Thanks to technology and shifts in financial incentives, care will begin to move into the palms of consumers’ hands, providing care anywhere, anytime.
Item: Create and execute a digical care strategy
4. Cybersecurity concerns come to medical technology. As security breaches become more common and costly, attention shifts to buttressing the security of medical devices.
Item: Perform a cybersecurity audit of your IT systems
5. The new money managers. Shouldering higher deductibles, consumers seek help managing their health spending with fresh tools and services developed by players new and old.
Item: Offer competitive pricing transparency
6. Behavioral healthcare: no longer on the backburner. Employers and healthcare organizations eye behavioral healthcare as key to keeping costs down, productivity up, and consumers healthy.
Item: Include behavioral health assessments.
7. Care moves to the community. As payment shifts to value-based models, health systems will pursue lower-cost settings more aggressively than before while employing creative approaches to distributing care.
Item: Create a way to meet competitive/cooperative opportunities from retail based clinics, care clinics in the cloud, urgent care centers, and other distribution channels threatening brick and mortar practice
8. New databases improve patient care and consumer health. New databases and database tools will allow industry players to analyze data from many sources in novel ways, finally unlocking insights embedded in the reams of information being collected about health consumers.
Item: Incorporate big data and analytics into how you practice.
9. Enter the biosimilars. Biosimilars, lower-cost substitutes for branded biologic drugs, are expected to begin to offer some counterweight to rising drug prices in 2016, much as generic drugs did 30 years ago.
10. The medical cost mystery. In the journey to value-based care, health systems dig in to calculate the true cost of services, an exercise that also can uncover opportunities to become more efficient
Item: Create a cost accounting system for episodes of care and price your products and services accordingly.
Happy New Year.