The world has witnessed many changes in the last decade. It’s safe to say that almost every field and industry have been impacted, or even revolutionized, by the introduction of technology and its advancements.
The only exception to this statement is one of the major industries in the world, which is the healthcare industry. This fact doesn’t come as a shock to any of us; healthcare is a very complex industry where change is not easy to implement. Even if one institution or a certain physician decided to adopt new changes, it is difficult to implement it on a global level. That being said, here’s what the experts think of the global healthcare outlook for 2020.
The Current Status of Healthcare
The healthcare industry is an ever-growing ecosystem that encompasses many specialties and subspecialties. You have doctors, nurses, medical assistants, pharmacists, dentists, and alternative medicine practitioners. And then you have accountants, managers, HR operators, insurance companies, and investors, all operating in the same niche. It’s estimated that, as of 2020, this industry will cross the $2 trillion mark. But where does this industry stand in regard to all other business niches?
Behind, Way Behind
By now, technology has made its way fast and strong in every other business. To name a few, AI, Big Data, virtual assistance, blockchain, and the Internet of Things (IoT) are being utilized by the majority of the industries and sectors. Meanwhile, healthcare still operates in the most traditional ways – even the adoption of Electronic Health Records (EHR) has been faced with major disapproval due to security breaches. Not to mention any other application of technology.
Global Healthcare Outlook for 2020
After realizing this huge issue, the biggest decision makers and tech experts came together to address the status of the current healthcare system. After discussing the major issues and thinking about ways to overcome them, here’s what we can expect for the global healthcare industry starting 2020.
1. Patient Engagement in Decision Making
Customers of all kinds have become much more sophisticated and aware of their rights and options, the same holds true for patients. Long gone are the days when they blindly followed recommendations. This makes it a priority to change the way healthcare functions, starting with engaging patients in decision making. The insurance specialists at MedicareWire.com explain that Medicare and Medigap plans can be quite overwhelming for the average senior. Each plan demands its own premium while providing certain coverage. To provide the best care, doctors and insurance providers should work hand-in-hand with the patients to explain their best healthcare plans. By providing them the information required, individuals can choose the best fit for their healthcare needs and financial abilities.
With the patients’ access to information and increased awareness, they expect the care they get to meet the same standards of customer service as compared to everywhere. Instead of offering services just because this is how healthcare operates, health practitioners and institutes will start to shift their industry towards patient-centricity. This will be achieved by providing holistic healthcare solutions and focusing on prevention, instead of diseases and their treatment.
3. Financial Reformation
There are several things to be done about the financial structure of healthcare. For starters, reforming payments to become value-based instead of service-oriented will become a priority. Patients will have access to technological tools that enable them to interact with and modify their current healthcare plans based on their specific needs. Healthcare will also be made more affordable, thanks to the new programs launched by governments.
4. Integration of Technology
Perhaps the biggest challenge of all will be integrating technology into healthcare. The introduction of AI, the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT), and automation will not be easy with such a complex system and infinite database – but gradual steps are being taken. All of these efforts will be aimed toward creating a more comprehensive and efficient system to meet the patients’ needs.
5. Future Needs
None of these goals can be achieved without training/educating health care practitioners. The whole structure, qualifications, and operations of the industry will be revolutionized with these new approaches. This will require doctors, nurses, and physicians of all specialties who are qualified to implement these changes and operate in the new field.
Despite remaining stagnant for years, the healthcare industry is finally starting to shift its area of focus. The fact that it’s way behind in time is not a secret to anyone anymore. Between engaging patients in decision-making, shifting to patient-centricity, reforming the financial model, integrating technology, and getting healthcare practitioners on board with the changes, this will be a transformation worth looking forward to.