MGMA19: 7 predictions for what lies ahead in healthcare in 2020

Photo of doctor and patient hands while discussing medical records after health examination
What's ahead in healthcare? (andrei_r/GettyImages)

NEW ORLEANS—Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) officials got out their crystal ball Monday.

At the organization’s annual conference in New Orleans, members of MGMA’s government affairs group offered some predictions of what will happen in 2020. Here are seven predictions from Mollie Gelburd, J.D., and Drew Voytal, both associate directors of government affairs at MGMA:

1. Expect to see the rise of connected care. Connected care allows electronic communication between a patient and provider, including telehealth and remote patient monitoring. When devices are connected to the cloud and to each other, they can become game-changing. Everything is moving to the cloud, said Voytal, and that is only going to increase.

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2. Cybersecurity will be a growing concern. No doubt it should be, as one recent report found that about 159 million patients had sensitive information such as Social Security numbers or credit card numbers compromised in a hospital data breach in the past 10 years, putting them at serious risk of identity or financial fraud.

3.There will be an expanded focus on Medicare Advantage. Earlier this month, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to give Medicare Advantage plans more flexibility and reduce regulations for certain medical professionals.

RELATED: Trump signs executive order aimed at Medicare in face of 'Medicare-for-All' proposals

4. A surprise billing law will be hard to see passed. Lawmakers are now debating over how to solve the problem of surprise medical bills, but there are sticking points to various proposals. And Washington lawmakers are now caught up in a fight over the possible impeachment of President Trump. “The impeachment circus is all consuming in D.C.,” Voytal said.

5. There will be more focus on the individual patient. Doctors are taking a more patient-centered focus toward the practice of medicine, and patients want that individual attention.

6. There will be more site of service attention. Patients have more choices than ever about where to access healthcare, whether it be an urgent care center, a retail clinic or other emerging treatment facilities. Price transparency may help them make those choices, said Voytal.

7. An expanded Medicare telehealth bill is unlikely. Payers, including the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, are increasingly expanding coverage for telehealth services. But MGMA officials said they aren’t counting on a bill to expand telehealth services for Medicare patients.

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