4 Answers to: How is the Healthcare Industry Changing?

The healthcare industry is changing in so many ways and these changes are happening rapidly and exponentially. Thus the answer to the question: How is the Healthcare Industry Changing is a long and multifaceted answer that covers all the many areas bot old, new and emerging that the healthcare industry is seeing changes.

Changes in the Structure of the Healthcare Industry

One of the biggest healthcare industry changes going on lately has been the consolidation between healthcare insurers and providers. These consolidations have been happening partly due to the legislative and regulatory rules and regulations being passed which are starting to be a burden to but insurers and providers alike. The goal is to, with this consolidations, create and provide more integrated services in the population.

One major example of this mergers is the recent merger between CVS and Aetna. As these mergers start to do well, there will be more mergers and acquisitions and more insurers will start to seek to have close relationships with providers that could possibly lead to a merger in the future. The advantages of these mergers between providers and insurers to patients are that there will be an increase in efficiency and coordination of care and this will lead to a more value-based care healthcare industry which could lead to reduced cost of healthcare.

The disadvantages are that some healthcare organization would become powerhouses which could lead to an industry monopoly where the consumer has little to no power. In as much as the patients should be a priority, these consolidations and mergers are happening with the main purpose of maximizing shareholder value, increasing scale and industry dominance, and having strategic leverage over the competition. A healthcare organization is, after all, a business entity with business goals. Thus it is always on the lookout to outsmart the competition and possesses certain advantages such as strategic leverage.

An Increase in the Opioid Crisis

In recent times, there has been more concern about the rising opioid crisis and how rapidly it’s spreading. The United States is right now in the midst of an opioid crisis as its trying to find a way to cure it. Due to the fact that this addiction is of prescription drugs, a lot of eyes are on the healthcare industry and on healthcare practitioners to monitor and dissect how they prescribe these drugs. Some doctors have already been found for wrongdoing for over-prescribing these drugs to their patients or prescribing the drugs to patients who didn’t need them, thus leading to the addiction.

This has led t increased cost of healthcare in treating patients addicted to opioids and more resources will be needed to fix this problem. Thus right now in the healthcare industry, the way it addresses the prescription of opioid medication and the way it treats patients with the addition to these drugs is changing. Healthcare organizations are seeking to implement best practices that can be applied to other patient populations, such as those with multiple chronic illnesses, and to improve population health for the long term.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention:

Drug overdose deaths continue to increase in the United States.

From 1999 to 2017, more than 700,000 people have died from a drug overdose.

Around 68% of the more than 70,200 drug overdose deaths in 2017 involved an opioid.

In 2017, the number of overdose deaths involving opioids (including prescription opioids and illegal opioids like heroin and illicitly manufactured fentanyl) was 6 times higher than in 1999.

On average, 130 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose.

Source: CDC

Increased Focus on Patient Engagement

Any healthcare organization that’s interested in evolving and being an industry leader already understands by now the value of patient engagement. Patient engagement and patient-generated data will help lead the charge of transitioning to a more value-based system as well as many other aspects that would make healthcare better. Measuring patient experience has become a vital part of the healthcare system and this has informed patient-centered care, medical technology innovations, and process improvements.

Patients are showing more and more interest in being engaged in their care and the entire population is more aware of their health and are more active in bettering their health or maintain a healthy lifestyle. A positive patient experience not only drives the reputation of a healthcare organization but it also provides valuable data that can help the system be revamped. There have even been reports that show that positive patient experiences lead to direct increases in revenue. Thus there are more strategies and investments put into place with the purpose of increasing the value of patient experience.

Advances in Clinical Research

The advances in clinical research have been a critical part of the healthcare industry and have played a critical role in changing the research climate. The understanding of different positions and multiple perspectives in healthcare research and then being able to come up with a strategy and solution that meets these needs is vital. When it comes to developing a new drug or a new treatment plan, it is a lengthy and important undertaking that requires years of research and testing.

In addition to the scientific challenges of clinical research, there are also macro issues such as government legislation and changing rules and regulations that must be dealt with. Having a solid life circle management plan is important and consistent for there clinical research plan if not, the structure could be compromised by the slightest turbulence or just outright fail.