Early into 2020, the phrase “20/20 vision” is a trending tagline, but for the health care space, this play on words is fitting. Innovators, investors, industry leaders, analysts, and providers are coming together with a clear vision on how to disrupt the industry and bring about meaningful change.
This thought-provoking dialogue comes back to one collective theme: humanize and transform the health care system with a more holistic, outcome-based approach. Progress begins with a shift from physician-led care to collaboration along the continuum, from fee-for-service healthcare models to value-based care, and from treatment to prevention and early intervention.
Here are the five ways the healthcare ecosystem will evolve this year:
- Further investment in social determinants of health
Social determinants of health (SDOH) have a direct effect on quality-of-life outcomes and risks. With that alignment, my prediction is the organizations addressing these conditions driven by where and how we live—including food, transportation, and housing—will develop more community partnerships and reimbursement mechanisms to help with the overall health of populations. For example, companies like Uber, Lyft, Meals on Wheels and grocery stores are partnering with healthcare organizations. Consumers will also see more and more health systems and payers buying community housing for patient populations to avoid costs to the system.
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- Smarter homes for remote patient monitoring
As more seniors are unable to afford the cost of senior community living, key players will be forced to shift investment to keeping seniors safely in their homes longer through in-home care models that help identify and address social determinants with smarter homes to keep seniors safe. Electronics retail giant, Best Buy, is a great example of non-traditional health care companies entering this space to help seniors. Best Buy representatives project they will serve 5 million seniors through in-home health monitoring by 2025. Working with payers and providers to collect this data will be critical for providing the highest possible level of care in a timely manner, identify the right patient, and manage risks outside of the walls of their clinics and hospitals safely in patient’s homes. Predictive modeling will be key to make this successful to keep seniors safely in their homes.
- Progress on pay-for-performance and value-based pay arrangements that increase alignment with the consumer, payer and provider
It’s known shifting healthcare payment from fee-for-service to robust value-based contracts is essential for saving cost and improving the quality of care. In 2019, a major obstacle for this shift is the misalignment in the provider, payer space due to the absence of timely, accurate claims data and valid quality data. This year, we’ll see significant progress and changes in alignment and behavior to move towards this value-based payment adoption. Continued democratization of data will allow for more robust data modeling to drive the right behavior for patients, providers, and payers aligned around value-based arrangements with predictive insights, targeted communication and retrospective analysis. Healthcare continues to be a very data rich industry, we just need the right information at our fingertips to make better decisions to drive costs, improve quality and improve the patient-provider experience.
- Cutting-edge technology advancements in machine learning and natural language processing
As the industry continues to leverage actionable data, we will see additional development in machine learning and natural language processing in health care. With big non-traditional healthcare players such as Apple, Amazon, Google, Facebook making significant investments, these services will be deployed on a larger scale to unlock the mass amount of health care data and at our fingertips. When used appropriately, machine learning and natural language processing provides an opportunity to collect patient-reported outcomes, making it easier for patients to communicate daily habits and symptoms with their medical teams. By doing this, we’ll be able to manage patients better in risk-based arrangements.
- On-demand, in-home care will be the leading option for care
Care delivery in the home is the future of healthcare. On-demand, in-home care solves existing issues with access, quality, and affordability. This year we will continue to see care being pushed to patient homes in different facets including home health, telemedicine, home-based primary care, hospital-at-home, and more. Companies like DispatchHealth are trailblazing and launching new clinical service offerings that deliver hospital-level care to patients with complex medical and social needs. In addition, major payers, risk providers and non-traditional healthcare companies are making significant investments in this approach to align with consumer convenience, decrease costs, and improve the quality of care.
While there’s no crystal ball and healthcare is an ever-changing landscape, it’s safe to say that there will be some monumental milestones while tapping into new innovation to shake up the conventional patient journey and make health care a customer-centric experience.
Kevin Riddleberger is co-founder and chief strategy officer of DispatchHealth.