3 long-term healthcare changes on the horizon

Healthcare is already changing before hospital leaders' eyes, but several longer-term trends will emerge over the next five to 15 years, healthcare experts told the Healthcare Financial Management Association.

Healthcare is already making major strides, according to the article, but the major innovations over the next several years will address healthcare costs, access and delivery. Major advancements in this period will include:

Expanded delivery options:  For example, the healthcare delivery system, which experts say needs innovation "on a massive scale," will trend in the direction of providing immediate answers, according to Douglas Wood, M.D., medical director of the Mayo Clinic's Center for Innovation. The healthcare system of the future, Wood said, needs to answer patient questions quickly enough that they can make informed choices with minimal disruption. For example, under the current system a patient with shortness of breath would have to see his primary care provider to get a recommendation for a cardiologist, which could take several weeks, Wood said. But if the cardiologist was available immediately, the response to the problem could be immediate as well.

Shifts in the workforce: By 2030, increased emphasis on population health, personalized care and preventive approaches will all have vastly expanded the healthcare worker model beyond simply doctors and nurses. To prepare for those changes, healthcare leaders must help create a system that gives all practitioners room to make the most of their specific areas of training, according to Philip A. Newbold, CEO of Beacon Health System in Indiana.

More value-base payment models: As both the healthcare industry and the government provide incentives for value-based goals, payment systems will shift to reflect these goals, according to Suzanne Anderson, executive vice president, CFO and CIO of Virginia Mason Health System. "Right now, there's a lot of time spent arguing over who's getting how many dollars," she said. "As we get into more accountable care (with a small 'a'), providers will be forced to either develop straightforward calculations for bundled payments, or really start thinking as a single, integrated system."

To learn more:
- here's the article