Emerging trends are defining healthcare in 2021 and beyond, and industry consolidation appears to be taking the top spot.
According to a recent Healthcare Trends Survey conducted by data and analytics firm, Definitive Healthcare, consolidation in the healthcare industry is slated to be the biggest trend for healthcare professionals this year. In 2018, over 800 mergers and acquisitions took place, and another 858 affiliations and partnerships were announced. And there’s no sign of this trend dying out anytime soon.
Out of all votes tallied in the survey, 25.2 percent hailed the consolidating healthcare landscape as the most important trend in the sector.
The top results of this survey should be of no surprise, as they align with some of the biggest headlines in the world of healthcare news, as an increasing number of mergers and acquisitions take place.
Changes in Regulations and Technological Advancements Present Challenges
The change in business models is largely being reimagined thanks to evolving consumer behavior. The healthcare industry is becoming more and more complex, and those in charge are seeking various strategies to deal with the challenges faced.
Healthcare providers, healthcare IT firms, and pharmaceutical companies alike are continuously having to keep up with changes in regulations and technologies. Such changes can directly impact business, and healthcare leaders are forced to find ways to effectively deal with this new landscape.
Consolidation in the healthcare industry is taking place on several platforms, including in the post-acute care realm. The survey found that 35 percent of mergers and acquisitions took place in the long-term care field, which suggests that healthcare facilities are looking for ways to keep costs down while also keeping a lid on increasing readmission rates.
Shortages in staffing may also be playing a role in the need to establish strategies to deal with the evolution of healthcare, which consolidation may address. Long-term care facilities, in particular, have long faced staffing shortages as practitioners within the baby boomer generation continue to retire.
Consumer Behavior Largely Driving Changes in Healthcare Business Models
Consumerism will likely remain a major issue in the world of healthcare, as urgent care centers and the integration of telemedicine continue to grow in popularity. The current climate has given rise to the need to seek out other modes of medical care aside from traditional healthcare.
However, these business options depend on leaders accurately determining appropriate reimbursement rates for services provided, which has yet to be addressed in full. It will be difficult for healthcare providers to invest confidently in different business models like telemedicine until telehealth reimbursement rates are fully figured out.
Consumers Becoming More Informed Patients
In addition to the consolidation trend, the Healthcare Trends Survey also found that consumerism is another leader in healthcare trends going forward. These days, patients are more than just people seeking medical care.
Instead, they are also becoming more informed consumers who are looking for more convenience and lower costs from their healthcare practitioners. As a result, medical practitioners will have to be more diligent when it comes to finding and retaining patient “customers.”
Further, patients are increasingly favoring telemedicine when it comes to receiving medical advice, particularly as the ongoing health crisis continues to force Americans to distance themselves from one another in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19.
One way that consumers are successfully keeping healthcare costs down while still benefiting from flexibility and convenience is through health sharing ministries. These programs can offer members savings of up to 30 to 40 percent compared to traditional medical insurance policies. And those preferring telemedicine will be happy to know that with UHSM, patients can enjoy unlimited visits with a $0 consult fee.
To discover how you and your family can benefit from one of UHSM’s health sharing programs, speak with a representative today or click here to see how much you can save with a UHSM health share program.