By Steve Moran
At the NIC Spring Conference that happens in San Diego in just a few days, one of the most provocative presentations is titled “Five Healthcare Trends You Need to Know”. It is being moderated by Andre Maksimow, Senior Vice President at Kaufman Hall.
We spent an hour on the phone and, in this article, I am only going to scratch the surface on the five trends. More accurately, I am only going to talk about three of them.
- The growth of healthcare costs is unsustainable — Costs continue to grow at 5-6 percent per year. Healthcare costs are currently about 18% of the GDP. There is a huge effort on the part of the government, insurance companies, consumers, and politicians to fix this problem.
All the other trends are the result of this reality.
- The healthcare consumer is emerging — It used to be that employers picked up most of the cost of medical care so consumers didn’t think much about cost. They were not paying for it anyway. This has changed. Employers are shifting a bigger portion of the cost to their employees and employees are paying a lot more attention to what things cost.
Need an MRI? I can go to the hospital or to a freestanding imaging center. It costs 4 times as much to go to the hospital, but since my insurance is paying the bill, who cares . . . and the hospital is better anyway, right? But if it means the difference of hundreds or even thousands of dollars out of pocket for the consumer, the freestanding center looks a lot more appealing.
- The way healthcare Is accessed is changing –– Millennials are soon to be the largest group of people who are consuming healthcare. They have very different expectations about how they consume everything. They want apps, they want healthcare available when they want it, not when the doctors or the healthcare system wants to deliver it. They will be much less concerned about having a relationship with the medical care provider. Medical care will be seen much more as a commodity than as a relationship.
They will also not just want, but demand, telehealth. Why should I have to travel to the doctor when I can have some basic equipment and communication devices at home or my office? Ultimately, they are going to demand higher levels of customer service and gravitate toward providers who can make this happen.
A big part of what is changing is a shift to more outpatient services. The idea here is that healthcare can be delivered at a much lower cost and in a much more consumer-friendly fashion.
You will have to attend the session to get the last two, but I can tell you they involve Amazon, Apple, and Google and, related to those three, size and scale will become increasingly important.
If you were to make your own list, what would be on it?
I hope to see you in San Diego in just a few days. If you want to register or check out the entire program go to https://www.nicevent.org/.