Before attempting to answer the question “What are Trends in Healthcare? Let’s, first of all, understand what trends are. A trend can be defined as a general direction in which something is developing or changing. Trends exist in different industries from technology, to fashion and even social consciousness. The most common places where you can find trends be talked about most often will be the fashion industry.
Search engines like Google have google trends which shows the current trend in any topic that has even been searched for on the web. So trends are a big deal and span across industries because they are great indicators of what’s current and generally accepted. Trends are also a thing in the healthcare industry so: What are Trends in Healthcare? What are some of the most commonly talked about topics and issues in the healthcare industry?
Well, there are several ranging from issues in finance, to management styles and data storage but one trend that seems to be gaining lots of attention is technology in healthcare. This trend is a spillover from the technology industry, this century has seen exponential advancements in technology and there has been a constant production of health devices such as pedometers for example. And these technological advancements are transforming the entire healthcare industry. The proliferation of new technology in healthcare is exploding. The following list highlights some opportunities and concerns for these rapidly evolving technological advancements:
Wearable Tracking Devices/Pedometers
About 70 million people in the U.S. currently use wearable tracking devices to monitor their physical activity, sleep patterns, calorie consumption, and a whole lot more. This is an exciting new frontier with so much potential to improve patient care. It will be fun to see the impact this trend has on improved patient engagement.
A significant change in the healthcare industry’s approach to providing care is underway and it’s putting the patient at the center of care. The goal is to improve patient satisfaction scores and engagement. But, this is new territory, and the industry as a whole is just starting to look into ways to engage with patients outside of a traditional office visit. For example, many providers haven’t yet tapped social media to build relationships with their customers. This will need to change, especially as patients begin to shop for healthcare the way they shop for cars or electrician services—by searching the Internet, looking for quality metrics and patient reviews, and comparing prices.
Increased Data Demands
Both clinicians and administrative leaders are hungry for data to make decisions and guide their planning. Yet, there always seems to be a missing piece of information, such as which skilled nursing facility a patient was discharged to. For this example, providers either have to make assumptions based on unreliable data or try to get that data through cumbersome processes. An enterprise data warehouse (EDW) is key to overcoming the current data challenges. An EDW enables users of all backgrounds (both technical and nontechnical) to analyze near real-time data easily through analytics applications. As demands for access to high-quality, accurate data continue to grow, workers will want better analytics tools, such as EDWs, so they can improve care and reduce costs.
Patient privacy issues such as concerns about data breaches and sale of patient data will continue to be top-of-mind for providers, payers, and consumers, especially with ongoing data breaches in the news. Providers and payers will need to step up data security to avoid the type of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) violations that can negatively impact an organization.