The world is extremely different than it was a few years ago—and this is more evident in healthcare than in any other industry. Between the aftermath of the pandemic, the acceleration of technology adoption, and a nationwide financial downturn, the landscape has changed dramatically for everyone.
Let’s explore the most important healthcare trends you need to know going into 2023.
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Related: How RtHD Will Transform Healthcare
Per-Person Costs Are Increasing
Several factors may lead to an increase in in-person costs in healthcare:
- The rising cost of medical supplies and equipment: The cost of medical supplies and equipment, such as surgical instruments, medications, and diagnostic tests, is increasing due to various factors, such as inflation and the increasing cost of raw materials.
- Higher labor costs: As the demand for healthcare services increases, the labor cost is also increasing due to a shortage of healthcare workers and the need to provide competitive salaries plus benefits to attract and retain staff.
- Increased use of technology: Advanced medical technology, such as robotic surgery and diagnostic imaging, has risen in recent years, leading to higher costs for hospitals and other healthcare providers.
- Higher real estate costs: The cost of real estate, especially in urban areas, has increased significantly in recent years, leading to higher costs for hospitals and other healthcare facilities.
- Increasing regulatory requirements: Healthcare providers must comply with a growing number of regulatory requirements, such as quality standards and patient safety regulations, which can increase costs.
Overall, these factors contribute to an increase in in-person costs in healthcare, making it more expensive for patients to receive care.
COVID-19 Impacts the Claim Experience
COVID-19 has led to later-stage healthcare diagnosis, which refers to diagnosing a medical condition at a later stage in its development when it may be more challenging to treat.
This happened before the pandemic, too—from causes including a lack of access to healthcare, delays in seeking medical care, or a failure to recognize the symptoms of a condition. However, it has become much more common over the past few years, and late-stage diagnosis can lead to poorer health outcomes, as the condition may have progressed to a more advanced stage by the time it is diagnosed.
Most insurers report an increase in these later-stage diagnoses due to deferred care—the practice of delaying or postponing medical treatment or care. This can happen for various reasons, such as a lack of access to healthcare, financial constraints, or simply a lack of awareness about the need for treatment.
Plans Are Modernizing
Many healthcare insurance plans are modernizing to be more inclusive, often offering a more comprehensive range of coverage options and adding more inclusive language to their policies.
A large number of insurance companies are also working to improve the overall customer experience by making it more accessible and helping people understand their coverage options. These improvements include offering more online resources and tools and providing better support and assistance for customers with questions or concerns about their coverage.
Overall, these changes aim to make healthcare insurance more accessible and user-friendly for everyone, and it’s one of the most positive healthcare trends of the year.
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Gaps in Mental Health Care
Mental health insurance plans can vary greatly, and there may be gaps in coverage for certain mental health services or treatments. For example:
- Limited coverage for certain mental health conditions, such as personality disorders or eating disorders
- Insufficient coverage for inpatient treatment or intensive outpatient programs
- Limited access to specialized mental health providers, such as child and adolescent psychiatrists or neuropsychologists
- Lack of coverage for alternative treatments, such as acupuncture or art therapy
- High deductibles and copayments can discourage individuals from seeking mental health care.
- Limited coverage for mental health services in rural or underserved areas
- Lack of coverage for ongoing therapy or support groups
- Insufficient coverage for individuals with pre-existing mental health conditions
- Lack of transparency in coverage and reimbursement policies, leading to confusion and difficulty in accessing care
- Limited coordination between physical and mental health care providers, resulting in fragmented care and potential gaps in treatment
Insurance Plan Management Needs Are Changing
One of the key changes in healthcare is the shift towards a value-based care model. This means that healthcare plan managers must focus on providing effective, cost-efficient, and high-quality care. This can involve implementing strategies such as population health management and risk stratification to identify and address the needs of high-risk individuals.
Additionally, the healthcare industry is facing increasing pressure to reduce costs and improve efficiency. This means that healthcare plan managers must be skilled at identifying areas for cost savings and implementing strategies to achieve these goals. This could involve collaborating with other healthcare providers, implementing more efficient processes, and leveraging data analytics to make data-driven decisions.
Overall, the changing needs of the healthcare industry are driving a shift towards a more focused, data-driven approach to healthcare plan management. This requires healthcare plan managers to be adaptable, tech-savvy, and strategic in their decision-making.
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How Will These Healthcare Trends Affect You?
Healthcare professionals have always known that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to patient care; however, technology has allowed them to make personalized care plans and build relationships with their patients in many ways.
As value-based healthcare becomes more prevalent and healthcare technology continues to evolve, the industry is changing—and we must ensure that it’s for the better.
Regardless of your interest in healthcare, staying on top of current trends is crucial. From the effects of COVID and rising healthcare costs to a modern approach to insurance plans and a focus on mental health, there’s no doubt that these healthcare trends will affect many of us—even if we aren’t in the industry.