Emerging technology and recent healthcare reform policies have propelled the industry to a point where consumers and providers alike are adopting ways to make patient care more convenient, accessible and cost-effective for everyone. Considering 2016 is an election year, now is the time to evaluate the current state of the healthcare industry and examine key trends that are expected to drive political campaigns and election ballots this November.
Here are five major healthcare trends to watch in 2016:
Proactive Health & Wellness
Consumers are redefining health by taking a proactive – even progressive – approach to maintaining their wellness. Growth rates in the wellness sector will continue as more patients and providers proactively shift dollars toward preventative care, changing the way they eat, exercise and manage stress.
Retail Health Care
Instead of making an appointment with a primary care physician, many consumers are now opting for quick visits to walk-in clinics located in a pharmacy, retail chain or supermarket to save time and money. The retail health industry is surging to accommodate the growing demand, with the number of clinics expected to grow 12 percent by the end of 2016.
Mobile health app adoption has doubled in the last two years putting health and personal care in the palm of your hand though smartphones and connected systems and devices. The shift to digital patient care helps lower costs for providers and increases access to patient monitoring, diagnosis and treatment. Connected care services like remote patient monitoring also lowers readmission rates for in-office visits.
As the health system moves away from fee-for-service, providers are turning to virtual medicine to expand services in areas like behavioral and mental health. Video chat consultation and live digital care provides a quicker, easier way for patients to connect with clinicians and decreases the volume and frequency of office visits. More insurers are covering telemedicine services in 2016, allowing consumers access health care 24/7 and at a fraction of the price. Telemedicine is especially beneficial for reducing volume in overcrowded facilities like urgent care, emergency rooms, after-hours clinics or in situations where patients are homebound and restricted in mobility.
In the 1930s, physician house calls accounted for 40 percent of medical visits, according to a 2011 article in the journal American Academy of Family Physicians. Several start-ups around the country are implementing home-based patient care programs that bringing care directly to the patient with the simple push of a button through a mobile app.
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