7 emerging healthcare trends

PwC has released its list of the top issues within the healthcare industry for 2015.

As the post-Affordable Care Act healthcare landscape takes shape, the industry will shift toward digitally-enabled, consumer-focused care models, according to PwC. As a result, it says the following trends will dominate the healthcare agenda next year:

  1. More convenience for less privacy: With the proliferation of digital tools and services that provide treatment options based on data analysis, "privacy will lose ground to convenience in 2015."
  2. Innovation in response to costly patients: The aging population, comorbidity in patients and the cost of care for "dual eligibles"--patients eligible for coverage under both Medicaid and Medicare--will foster creative care delivery and management systems." 
  3. Expanded scope of practice: "Extenders" of physician care are more important to patients, as indicated by new laws expanding other clinicians' practice authority, as well as risk-based payment models and remote, digital patient monitoring.
  4. Transparency initiatives: Next year will bring initiatives that aim to shine a light on clinical trial data, outcomes and physician-pharmaceutical financial relationships, according to the report, which will help boost patient care quality.
  5. Even more emphasis on positive outcomes: As healthcare becomes increasingly outcomes-based, evidence and definitions for high-quality outcomes will be in high demand.
  6. More approved, portable home medical devices, necessitating strong information security.
  7. Do-it-yourself (DIY) healthcare, such as smartphone-linked devices and mobile apps.

PwC's Health Research Insitute (HRI) also found increased interest in DIY healthcare technology among healthcare professionals, in some cases more so than patients, according to a statement.

"For example, while about one-third of U.S. consumers said they would use a home urinalysis device, more than one-half of physicians surveyed by HRI this year said [they] would use data from such a device to prescribe medication or decide to see patients," the announcement states.

To learn more:
- here's the complete list