Healthcare Industry challenges are always going to be evolving alongside the breakthroughs and innovations. In 2017, there are new healthcare industry challenges that go alongside the age-old difficulties.
For doctors, nurses and medical teams, here are 7 of the key healthcare industry challenges they are currently facing in the year ahead for 2017.
1) Retail Care offering increased access
Retail giants like CVS and Walgreens are pushing further into care delivery, continuing to put pressure on traditional providers to increase access to care.
According to Laura Jacobs, writing for Hospitals and Health Networks “The greatest challenge for most organizations will be finding the right pace for adapting to or embracing new [healthcare] payment models.”
Doctors will be required to step up their efforts to optimize the patient experience, beyond measuring patient satisfaction.
2) Behavioral healthcare
The healthcare industry is starting to recognize that Mental Health is important to the well-being of employees and consumers, according to a report from PWC.
The report notes that one out of five American adults experiences a mental illness every year. These conditions cost businesses more than $440 billion each year. Healthcare organizations and employers will look at behavioral care as ‘key to keeping costs down, productivity up and consumers healthy’ the report said.
3) Meaningful Use and Value Based Payments
Eligible providers and eligible hospitals are continuing to work on meaningful use of EHRs.
Value-based purchasing programs are solidly in place, and eligible physicians are starting to experience the penalty phase of CMS’s quality reporting and Meaningful Use initiatives. In fact, CMS revealed that more than 257,000 eligible professional providers who are not meaningful users of certified EHR technology would have their Medicare Fee Schedule cut by one percent.
Eligible physicians also need to comply with CMS’s new Value-Based Payment Modifier program, or face penalties. It’s part of Medicare’s efforts to improve healthcare, but the program adds yet more regulations physicians need to monitor.
All these changes and new reporting requirements can become overwhelming for already busy physicians, which is why the American Medical Association has repeatedly asked for relief.
4) Switching to ICD-10
The much anticipated and maligned change to ICD10 codes in 2015 led to a lot of discomfort for physicians. The increase in codes from 14,000 to 68,000 means a lot of diagnosis criteria must be re-learned.
There is a great deal of planning, re-training and new systems that go along with the upgrade in codes. For doctors, finding the time to do this proved to be a huge challenge, and still is.
5) Data Security
Patient privacy issues, including concerns about data breaches, continue to be a challenge for providers, payers, and consumers.
Providers and payers will need to be aware of the best practices for data security to avoid the type of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) violations that can negatively impact an organization.
6) Managing Patient volume
While new payment models will are aiming to reduce acute hospital utilization, the continued expansion of Medicaid and the insured population through the public exchanges will seemingly keep demand up.
The rise of obesity and chronic disease and population aging are creating a demand for medical services like never before.
Emergency departments will continue to be overworked until efforts to decant volume through urgent care, better care management or redesigned primary care models begins to take effect..
7) Implementing Telemedicine
The idea of a doctor seeing you via a computer screen may no longer be new, but the adoption of the Telemedicine services by doctors with their own patients is still a struggle.
The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation shares a vision of how Telemedicine can reduce patient backlogs. “Imagine a world where patients in rural areas far from a nearby doctor can easily find a health care provider to consult with online from the comfort of their own homes; where doctors living in Pennsylvania can help reduce the backlog of patients waiting to see doctors in Mississippi; and where patients can connect to a doctor over the Internet for routine medical purposes with a few clicks of the mouse—like they do when ordering a book on Amazon.”
Finding a balance between in person visits and telemedicine will require doctors to adjust their approach to care. Learning to diagnose remotely also requires new skills and detailed reporting.
Of course, Healthcare Industry Challenges are nothing new. Technology and legislation will continue to change the landscape. Doctors and their medical teams must evolve their approach and focus to meet them.