Big U.S Health Care Issues For 2020 & Beyond
As the health care industry rolls full steam ahead towards 2020, major stakeholders are beginning to take note of some of the challenges that the industry will be facing in this near future. However, we should take a moment to appreciate the fact that this segment of the U.S. economy is finally coming of age.
Even with its unique quirks the industry no longer behaves like a special case, instead just like other industries it has to face and adapt to changes in business and tax strategy, deals, workforce trends, digital transformation, regulatory and risk issues.
These are some of the significant health care challenges that the U.S Health Care Industry must overcome to achieve a future of high quality, efficiency, and effectiveness:
1. The skyrocketing cost of health care
It’s estimated that the cost of obtaining primary health care in America is almost twice the global average. This cost is only expected to grow even more within the coming years. While some analysts blame this on intermediaries, others on collusion between the insurance companies and practitioners, the truth is this gradual increase in cost does not necessarily correspond to increased quality of health care.
It, therefore, goes without saying that the industry will have to overcome this looming nightmare before it can even set its target on improved healthcare.
2. Low supply of primary care professionals
The drastic reduction in the number of new primary care practitioners versus the outgoing (retiring) is not only worrying but also give some sort of credence to the fact that our health care system is suffering silently.
The current system that’s expected to produce qualified doctors can no longer accommodate the population expansion as well as faster aging. This leads to a shortage of qualified personnel to work in hospitals. Another cause would be the short supply of residency programs and the capitalist model of healthcare, which only serves to dampen the appeal of the medical profession to the younger generation as a career choice.
3. Disparate International Standards
The United States takes on the bulk of immigrants each year compared to any other nation worldwide. While we can’t rule out that the majority of them are illegal immigrants, it still introduces a whole new level of complexity to the issue.
The truth is that poorer nations cannot provide up to par health care. As a result, citizens from such regions are generally susceptible to communicable diseases and other treatable conditions which would usually have been caught and treated in time if they had access to proper medical care. When such people immigrate to the States the burden of health care falls on the system which now not only has to deal with increased cases of infectious diseases but also the legality of such care when dealing with illegal immigrants.
4. Opioid Crisis
It’s estimated that every 24 hours, 130 people die in the States as a result of the opioid crisis. To call this an issue seems to be an understatement; it might as well be the most significant health care issue for 2020. Roughly 27% of patients with chronic pain opioids prescription usually misuse them, compound this to the fact that about 80% of all heroin addicts were first-time prescription opioid abusers and you will see just how widespread the issue is.
The U.S Health Care Industry must keep a close eye patient as well as the social factors that sway behaviors in order to stay ahead of this crisis. Data from both public and private health may also reveal new insights as well as areas of focus.
5. Artificial Intelligence and Healthcare
AI has been making some bold moves in the U.S Health Care Industry, and this is only expected to increase come 2020. While much of the AI focus in health care has been in machine learning and the application of predictive analytics in radiology and cancer treatment, it’s expected that we will see a gradual shift especially in those repetitive tasks that we all hate.
From routine paperwork to scheduling and even time-sheet entry, these are some of the duties that health care practitioners have to deal with on a daily basis, which could be automated by artificial intelligence. As a result, doctors will have more time to do patient rounds and even treat more people.
6. Time’s up for the traditional middlemen
Depending on how you look at it the health care intermediaries have been both a blessing and a curse: they serve as a pass-through service with the contracting function between the patient, insurance, big pharma, and the medical practitioners.
This role has, for a long time, been associated with price hikes and shady deals. However, with the increased interest from tech companies such as Amazon seeking to get into the healthcare industry, we could witness a complete change in the roles of intermediaries.
These could give pricing transparency a big boost as well as taking charge of the value chain to hold manufacturers and big pharma responsible for drug efficacy. Other changes expected include: assisting patients to manage their care and propelling healthcare by combining clinical and pharmaceutical data.
7. The Internet of Things and Healthcare
With the rollout of 5G expected to peak by 2020, we can predict that IoT will only get better. In the health care sector, the internet of things is already being used in cancer treatment thanks to smart monitoring systems. Other applications include continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) and automated closed-loop insulin delivery in diabetes management, and even connected inhalers.
The applications of IoT in health care are limitless, and we might even see ingestible sensors to monitor adherence. While this segment is still growing, there have been several challenges, most notably being the security concern. 2018 alone experienced the highest rate of cyber security breaches, and IoT early adopters must be prepared for this menace.
U.S Health Care systems and hospitals alike must all be equipped with the required cyber-security tech to keep up with the ever-evolving technology and increased risks. After all, the reputational and financial cost of a security breach affecting such a patient health care system can be catastrophic.