Healthcare Industry Trends
With increasing pressure from higher costs and an aging population, the healthcare industry is harnessing data to improve its services, drive profits, and provide a greater level of care.
Baby boomers are a burden on healthcare.
An aging population is putting increasing demands on the US healthcare system. The baby boom generation—those born between 1946 and 1964, and now 55 to 73 years old—is 75 million strong, meaning that the number of people age 65 and older is expected to double in the US by 2025. As this generation ages, its members experience more health problems and chronic conditions than younger people, and so require more care. And, as they reach the eligible age, they are relying more on Medicare/Medicaid entitlements to pay for it.
How can the healthcare industry respond? Some of the best answers to that challenge include harnessing the value of patient data to improve healthcare and giving caregivers access to that data via simple, easy-to-use solutions that can be distributed closer to the patient. Oracle Database Appliance provides an ideal solution for smaller healthcare providers, helping them adopt technology to provide better care for more people.
A more holistic approach for medicine.
Another major source of upheaval in the industry is the shift to managing health along a continuum, rather than waiting to treat people at the hospital when a medical event occurs. This changing care model is partially a response to the unequal health-spending burden of a small percentage of the population. In fact, the most recently available data from the National Institute for Health Care Management (NIHCM) Foundation shows that half of all healthcare expenditure is concentrated among just 5% of the noninstitutionalized US population.
Managing health along a continuum starts with preventive medicine to keep people healthier, so they ultimately need fewer healthcare services. And when they do get sick, this new model incorporates remote patient monitoring after treatment, to help them recover more quickly and minimize readmissions.
This focus on wellness and care across a continuum is accelerating the following trends:
The momentum in healthcare
organizations to evaluate and implement value-based care.
The complementary value-based payment models
that measure outcomes and move away from the traditional fee-for-service model.
Population health management
is an offshoot of value-based care, looking at outcomes for groups rather than individuals. It relies heavily on business intelligence and data analytics for viability.
This new prevention-focused model can be supported by helping patients access information and providers more easily. Healthcare providers are looking to technology to improve care and relieve some of the burdens on their systems. Kaiser Permanente is one organization leading the way. In 2017, 59% of Oakland, California-based Kaiser Permanente’s total patient transactions were virtual. This included online prescription refills, scheduling, lab result reports, and video clinician-patient consultations.
Key challenges for the industry.
The healthcare industry is in a period of flux, with organizations facing a number of key challenges, including:
- An aging population
- A more holistic approach to care
- A shortage of healthcare professionals
- Declining reimbursements
- Soaring drug prices
- Rising health insurance premiums
- Higher out-of-pocket costs for the insured
- Uncertainty around how the Affordable Care Act will evolve
Despite the uncertainty, healthcare organizations must continue to provide the best care possible and retain good clinicians who can deliver that care. To achieve this, they are moving forward with initiatives that drive higher revenue, reduced costs, greater efficiency, improved technology, better controls, and complete visibility into operations.
With Oracle Engineered Systems, healthcare organizations can create an effective, standardized infrastructure for their business—adapt and respond in real time, go to market faster, streamline their operations, modernize the back office, and turn data into a reusable, revenue-generating asset. By doing this, they can meet their number-one priority: providing better patient care as cost-effectively as possible.