6 predictions for hospitals, health systems and medical professionals
Tina Wheeler, the national sector leader for Deloitte’s healthcare practice in the U.S., has written a report outlining trends she expects to emerge or accelerate in healthcare.
Ms. Wheeler, a breast cancer survivor with a daughter in medical school, specifically provided her outlook for hospitals, health systems and medical professionals.
Her six predictions:
1. More interest in practicing medicine. During the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a surge in medical school applications — one that admissions officers link to the example of Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Ms. Wheeler said she expects this increased interest in medicine to continue for people who want to help others.
2. Medical school students could be more interested in public health. Ms. Wheeler predicts more medical school students could be more interested in job opportunities with public health organizations several years from now. She cited information from the Association of American Medical Colleges showing that some medical schools have already added electives that offer students more of these types of opportunities.
3. Physicians will likely see their reliance on virtual health grow. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the use of virtual health. In fact, students at her daughter’s school learned how to interview standardized patients in hospital exam rooms before the pandemic, but they have since seen face-to-face encounters moved to an online platform in response to the public health crisis, said Ms. Wheeler. She predicts physicians will likely need this skill as more care is delivered virtually.
4. Patients could receive more hospital-level care at home. The COVID-19 pandemic has also resulted in hospitals providing more care in people’s homes. For example, telehealth company Amwell announced its involvement March 10 in a hospital-at-home care initiative backed by Amazon, Salt Lake City-based Intermountain and St. Louis-based Ascension. Ms. Wheeler said more hospital-level care could be delivered in the home in the future.
5. Transparent pricing could spur newly engaged digital customers. The CMS price transparency rule requiring hospitals to post their standard charges online took effect Jan. 1. Ms. Wheeler said this could help educate and empower consumers, and newly engaged digital consumers will likely have more influence in healthcare. “The new rules are creating mandates and opportunities for greater data-sharing in the industry,” she wrote. Ms. Wheeler said health plans might specifically find opportunities for greater data-sharing to improve social, economic, and environmental factors that affect health outcomes.
6. Interoperability will change healthcare interactions: HHS has finalized two interoperability rules issued by ONC and CMS. Ms. Wheeler predicts these rules will change healthcare interactions by meeting empowered consumer needs and supporting consumer choice. She said health plans can spend time understanding how data sharing can help them empower and guide members and improve their healthcare experience.
Read Ms. Wheeler’s full report here.
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