5 optimistic healthcare trends for 2015

After the initial apprehension and uncertainty in the wake of the Affordable Care Act, optimism is taking hold among healthcare leaders, according to research from the Aegis Health Group, which identified positive trends within the industry. Five of the trends are:

1. Innovation: More healthcare leaders collaborate with community partners and others to find new approaches to deliver care, the company found. For example, Heritage Provider Network, one of the county's largest Pioneer accountable care organizations, has offered millions of dollars to health innovators through a series of prizes to encourage solutions to the leading health problems in the United States, FierceHealthcare previously reported. And some organizations use a "Shark Tank" model to spark innovation. 

2. Population health. Many healthcare executives foresee a return on investment in population health management programs within three to four years, while keeping people happy and healthy. Population health initiatives will become increasingly consumer-focused in 2015, according to Aegis President and CEO Phil Suiter, who has seen impressive results from health systems that use online population health websites to collect, track and act on the health risks of consumers before they become patients. 

3. Physician engagement. Physician loyalty and building hospitals' brands have long been considered vital, according to Aegis, but the evolution of data analytics allows hospitals to analyze patterns of referrals and leakage to help executives make the smartest possible investments in physician practice acquisitions.

4. Customer engagement. Hospital leaders must develop strategies to help become "providers of choice" and engage consumers by putting themselves in their shoes, according to the statement. 

5. Wellness. Hospitals realize they must position themselves as trusted partners with employers to help promote general wellbeing, according to Aegis, and bring morale-boosting wellness initiatives into the community. 

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