What's coming for healthcare in 2020? Health executives weigh in


No one can predict the future.

But that didn't stop us from reaching out to leaders from across the healthcare and convincing them to try.

From hospital execs to tech companies leaders, here's a look at some of their expectations for 2020 and beyond.

A shift to providers calling "zero harm" their priority

Anne Marie Benedicto 
(Joint Commission)

“I see 2020 as an inflection point for safety in health care—a year to remember how far we’ve come, but also a year to look forward to what’s possible. Since the Joint Commission Center for Transforming Healthcare was established over ten years ago, our team has seen tremendous improvements in healthcare safety and quality across a number of areas like healthcare-acquired infections.

But the headlines still show that harmful events like wrong-site surgeries and falls with injury continue to happen in healthcare organizations across the country. Fortunately, there are tools and resources to move healthcare organizations towards the ‘zero harm’ ethos that clinicians and healthcare workers aspire to. With this in mind, I predict that 2020 will be the year we start to see a paradigm shift in healthcare providers from implementing incremental improvements in quality and safety to making zero harm a priority—and reality—for patients in their organizations.”

— Anne Marie Benedicto, vice president, Joint Commission Center for Transforming Healthcare  

More "strategic" investment in addressing disparities

Barry Ostrowsky

"As a founding member of the Healthcare Anchor Network, RWJBarnabas Health along with 13 other hospitals and health systems nationwide, recently committed over $700 million for place-based investing to build strong and healthy communities.

RWJBarnabas Health will continue to support strategic endeavors such as this and others that foster health-promoting structures and environments. The system will also continue to work alongside internal and external stakeholders to improve health outcomes, promote health equity and eliminate health care disparities."

— Barry H. Ostrowsky, president and CEO, RWJBarnabas Health

An "upgraded therapeutic arsenal" for depression

Nimish Shah

"There is going to be an uptick of investment into small biotechnology companies developing novel medications to treat depression. This renewed interest is due to recent scientific progress achieved by a number of biotech companies and the remaining high unmet need for these patients—about one third still have symptoms even after trying three different drugs. 

Whereas most currently-available depression drugs work by targeting the same biological pathways we’ve understood for decades, now there is increased appreciation for new effective ways of modulating the disease."

— Nimish Shah, investor at Venrock

Hospitals will "jump the shark"

Farzad Mostashari
Farzad Mostashari 

“2020 will be the year when hospitals jump the shark. Insurance companies and pharma have long been the subject of criticism but in 2020, they will welcome a new friend into the harsh public spotlight, as it finally becomes acceptable to call out hospitals for their role in the failures of health care cost containment.

Hospital involvement in surprise billing, fighting transparency, resisting interoperability, behaving anti-competitively, and even suing patients has flown in the face of their ostensible mission as well as their ostensible not-for-profit tax status. Continued intransigence in the face of reasonable reform proposals will force the hand of policymakers, who will call for additional oversight and regulation. It will be a tough year for hospitals, and, I hope, a better year for patients."

— Farzad Mostashari, founder and CEO of Aledade and former national coordinator for health IT at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Improved use of real-world evidence

Carolyn Magill

"Soon we will have global norms on when it’s appropriate to use real-world evidence (RWE) in decision-making. I expect that the FDA, HTAs, as well as other regulatory and policy bodies around the world will accept more RWE to inform decision making—namely, acting on evidence from claims and EHR data instead of solely relying on clinical trials. 

RWE will be used in new drug and biologic applications, and for fulfilling post-market requirements around safety. As Congress prepares version 2.0 of the 21st Century Cures Act, and the FDA prepares to issue formal guidance on RWE, we see convergence around the principles of replicability and transparency that are core to establishing standards for RWE." 

— Carolyn Magill, CEO of Aetion

Better use of devices in the home

A headshot of John Halamka
John Halamka
(Mayo Clinic)

“We have a lot of hospital beds in brick-and-mortar institutions and we’re going to move to community- and home-based sites of care, which is more convenient for the patient. Consumers are demanding easier access to services.

The telehealth capabilities and sensors that we can put into the home now, these devices are not just gadgets but good enough for diagnosis and treatment. And we’re going to see more security risks so we need to redouble our efforts to make sure data is protected and data integrity as well. If data is altered, that can be worse than if the data were deleted.”

— John Halamka, M.D., president, Mayo Clinic Platform

A focus on "price as the cost equation"

Ben Isgur 

“How are you going to respond to the issue of pricing? The government is frustrated with it, employers are frustrated with it. There is a call to action that prices are too high and not enough utilization. We expect 2020 to focus on price as the cost equation, not utilization.”

 — Ben Isgur, director of PwC’s Health Research Institute





Data siloes are "actually going to die"

Chris Klomp
(Collective Medical)

“AI is here to stay and is not a passing fad. There is a particularly significant focus not just on workflow and workflow integration of non-EHR third-party tools, but on automation of essential tasks to be completed; data silos are actually going to die starting in 2020. Data belongs to the patient and should not be the asset on which companies and other healthcare organizations compete.

CMS and ONC are serious about this and 2020 is the year they’re going to make it happen. Increased emphasis on smarter care coordination that drives action. Technical interoperability alone is passe; the focus will be on clinical interoperability.”

— Chris Klomp, CEO of Collective Medical



"All about the election"

Don Berwick
(Center for American Progress)

It is absolutely all about the election. 2020 is a crucial point of inflection one way or another for the future of American healthcare.”

— Don Berwick, former head of CMS and president emeritus of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement