4 healthcare mega-trends

Between the Affordable Care Act and an aging population, traditional healthcare industry models face unprecedented disruptions, contributor Reenita Das writes in Forbes, and four "mega-trends" will reflect this by the end of the decade.

The trends include:

  1. Consolidation of services: Increased focus on value of care will leave the healthcare industry no choice but to consolidate, Das writes. Single, unaffiliated hospitals and practices "will become a thing of the past," she writes, as providers further embrace the chain model to consolidate services, reduce costs and amplify purchasing power.
  2. More technology-driven, personalized treatment: More consumers have technology like smartphones, Das writes, and social media sites like Yelp helps them make more informed choices about healthcare. As such, the industry will tailor coverage, prices and treatment to the individual consumer. In the future, healthcare, and the world in general, "will be based on a model of seamless information gathering, collation, analytics and dissemination," she writes.
  3. Increased cooperation between the healthcare, food and retail sectors: Modern healthcare increasingly emphasizes food's role in health and wellness. In response, Das writes, the food and healthcare industry will converge and providers will place more emphasis on holistic health, including mental and lifestyle tools and aids.
  4. More emphasis on prediction and diagnostics instead of therapeutics: As healthcare becomes more about rewarding outcomes and preventing problems, providers will spend more time on analysis and preventive care and less on therapeutics in the coming decades, she writes. Instead they will rely on IT with preventive applications, like electronic medical records.

In the shorter term, hospitals can expect several healthcare trends in 2014, including more accountable care organizations and more hospitals becoming insurers, FierceHealthcare previously reported.

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