Top Healthcare Challenges for the Next Decade
All healthcare providers are powered by their belief in access to quality care for all. But even as technology brings us closer together, many patients continue to face insurmountable barriers such as high costs and lack of available care.
As we head into 2020, what other challenges face healthcare, and what steps can we take to overcome them? Luckily cultural changes and the continued integration of technology can lay some of the groundwork for transformation.
Here are three challenges facing healthcare over the coming years — and three solutions for overcoming them.
Anticipating the Rising Costs of Healthcare
Healthcare costs are on the rise, and traditional reimbursement models have to change to accommodate those increases. “We’re seeing an unsustainable rise in healthcare costs across the nation without necessarily seeing quality outcomes improving,” says John Woolley, President and CEO of Hatfield Medical Group. “Many healthcare systems are moving from a fee-for-service-based reimbursement model to a value-based reimbursement model.”
This leads to an increased focus on achieving positive patient outcomes and seeing the patient as a consumer. But that shift in your organization’s outlook won’t happen overnight. The best patient outcomes are often derived from cultivating a value-based culture. “Great patient outcomes require good relationships between providers and patients,” Woolley says.
Preparing for Physician Shortages and Burnout
As the patient population ages, the demand for healthcare increases. The problem of physician shortages is already severe, and meeting the care needs of an aging population puts a further strain on it. “In many places the availability of the resources compared to the density of the demand is outstripped,” says Ash Shehata, National Sector Leader for Healthcare & Life Sciences at KPMG US and Principal on Healthcare 2030. “In the very near future clinicians are going to leverage AI and analytics to create much more capacity.”
For example, right now recording patient interactions is very screen focused, Shehata says. But soon healthcare providers will be able to talk directly to patients while voice-activated AI records and inputs information in the proper fields. This will free up time for clinicians and reduce errors in input while also optimizing the patient experience, he says. The future of healthcare is going to be focused on integrating these forms of 21st-century technology into our health delivery system.
Overcoming Competition for Talent
With tech and retail giants like Google, Amazon and Walmart now in the healthcare market, competition for talent to deliver the care patients need is becoming even more fierce for traditional healthcare systems. “It’s already difficult to retain talent in a hospital environment,” Shehata says. “When a tech company comes calling, there's going to be an increased war for the top tier of clinical talent.”
But telehealth can help. “The goal of telehealth is to meet patients where they are,” Woolley says. On the other end, the same is true for physicians, he says: “Telehealth offers providers tremendous schedule flexibility and offers a great quality of life, all while still providing excellent patient care.” As telehealth becomes more integrated in traditional healthcare settings, those settings will be able to offer more competitive benefits — and attract and retain top talent.
The challenges facing healthcare over the next decade don’t have to take us by surprise. By putting the patient-consumer first and integrating technology and AI into standard care, we can accommodate disruption while still providing quality care for all.