Healthcare Trends.

Healthcare Trends.

It’s Q4 2019 and time to start planning for next year. According to Definitive Healthcare and McKinsey and Company, here are the top healthcare trends for the coming year:

Consolidation – Over 803 mergers and acquisitions took place in the last 12 months, in addition to 858 affiliation and partnership announcements. This trend brings newer technology to smaller clinics and hospitals, as they join larger groups, driving down costs. Consolidation is predicted to accelerate over the next 2-3 years. It also decreases competition and creates mega-hospitals, with regulators watching closely.

Convenience – 65 percent of consumers buying commercial insurance select cost as the top factor when choosing where to seek care. Today, 24 percent of consumers reported using retail clinics like CVS Minute Clinics, compared to only 9 percent only four years ago. To go around this trend, you must get really good at marketing to the 35 percent who don’t list cost as a top factor and/or serve fee-for-service patients.

Telehealth – Over 70 percent of consumers would rather use video than visit their primary care provider in person. Telehealth is expected to reach $94 billion in care by 2026. Dental boards and malpractice carriers will need to catch up. Consumers are now setting the standard of care, whether we like it or not.

Artificial Intelligence – is expected to continue growing with the tremendous amount of data being generated by hospitals each day. AI will help us utilize and understand all these data, driving down costs and improving care. This presents the biggest opportunity for private equity investment and staying power.

Staffing Shortages – will continue as the nursing and primary care workforce continues to age. Currently 55 percent of all registered nurses are 50 years old or older and 52 percent of the active physician workforce is 55 or older. Combined with an aging population, there is a higher demand for nurses and primary care physicians. Effective hiring will continue to be a critical area of practice in addition to offering the best benefits packages, so that you can attract top talent.

Data Security – will continue to consume more time and attention, forcing more regulators to step in, as last year saw many data breaches that exploited healthcare records; eight of which exposed over 500,000 records and three exposed over a million. You must factor higher IT and cybersecurity costs into your budgets, moving forward.

If you haven’t scheduled your annual planning day, now is the time to get it on the calendar. My team likes to take a day or two out of the office and go somewhere fun and relaxing. Sometimes we go down to the lake and other times we simply rent out a cabin and get away from the office so we can think about a bigger future, outside the constraints of the physical workplace. We speak about trends like these and constantly ask how we can do things better for our patients.

All six of these trends will affect your practice, both now and in the future. The offices that are prepared to deliver more value than the competition and do so inside a convenient delivery model are the practices that will enjoy tremendous success moving forward.

* Every year or two, I take a day with top-level clients to talk about the future of the profession. It’s certainly not too early to plan the next date. If you have an interest and want to join me for a discovery day, where you can see what me and my top clients are doing to leverage these trends (surfing the wave instead of fighting it), then express your interest to one of our certified trainers and coaches at 800-891-7520 and let’s make next year your strongest yet.

Worked at Burleson Orthodontics. Attended University of Missouri–Kansas City. Lives in Kansas City, Missouri.