The 2019 New Year’s resolution for the healthcare industry can be summarized on one word – value. Patients want value for their hard-earned dollars spent on visits to the doctor, treatments and therapies, prescription drugs, and health insurance. Providers want to focus their operations on saving valuable time, labor, and money. Then they can redirect those resources toward greater efficiency, productivity, and quality of care.
In the coming year, government agencies and industry regulators are expected to keep pushing for quantifiable value-based health and wellness outcomes. Forbes Magazine anticipates that 15 percent of global healthcare expenditures will be driven by value-based metrics. Meanwhile, non-traditional providers in the digital space (like Amazon, Apple, and IBM) will help support home health with greater access to affordable care.
The FDA’s Digital Software Precertification Program should also be up and running in 2019, after the completion of a 2-year pilot program. The initiative is aimed at reducing the time and paperwork required to review manufacturer-submitted applications for software-based medical devices. These new technologies have the potential to augment or completely replace some active pharmaceuticals used to treat diseases.
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Industry watchers also believe that healthcare investment in Artificial Intelligence (AI) will exceed $1.5 billion over the next 12 months. Areas of significant AI impact include risk management, pharmaceutical research, and diagnostic imaging. Widespread implementation of AI in 2019 could potentially accelerate healthcare industry productivity over the next few years by as much as 15 percent.
As CBS News reported, “The medical industry is the new No. 1 target for hackers.” Medical records sold on the black market can be worth more than 10 times as much as credit cards. Bloomberg also revealed that a single data breach can potentially cost a healthcare provider more than $400 per patient. Healthcare data breaches or malware attacks have already resulted in the lockdown of hospital computer systems. The threat of malware attacks grew by more than 150 percent during the second quarter of 2018, and that trend will likely continue in 2019. Naturally, patients, practices, and regulators will continue to demand higher levels of security to safeguard confidential information.
The healthcare sector is a pioneering leader among industries in terms of adopting the use of cloud-based technology, too, which can play an integral role in cybersecurity. Another future-forward application of digital tech is for home-based healthcare. That includes such things as telehealth, prescription management, and digital monitoring of health and exercise regimens.
The new year will welcome multipurpose solutions that address a variety of challenges faced by patients and providers – while simultaneously supporting value-adding health outcomes. These include user-friendly turnkey software systems for healthcare practices and facilities. Such systems can give patients increased insight into their insurance eligibility and billing transparency, as well as ease-of-access for scheduling appointments, checking prescriptions, and making secure payments. These platforms can instantly generate comprehensive internal reporting and analysis to track best practices, while they enable automated front office tasks to relieve administrative burdens.
2019 will definitely be a year of implementation and progress, as the healthcare industry solidifies its commitment to value and amplifies its efforts to deliver that value on a grand scale.