The healthcare landscape has experienced a dramatic shift, with hospitals and healthcare facilities forced to adapt protocols and processes to shoulder the surge of COVID-19. While some measures taken by healthcare organizations are likely temporary, others have proven both sustainable and valuable. 

According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, healthcare employment is forecasted to grow approximately 15% over the next decade. The influx is predominantly due to aging baby boomers, who will need increased care for long-term and complex health-related issues. The impending outlook is further exacerbated by the large percentage of healthcare workers approaching retirement age. 

In addition to adjusting workforce management strategies, digital innovation and new patient-focused initiatives will continue to drive change within the healthcare sector. Here’s a look at some of the emerging trends slated to impact the healthcare space in 2021 and beyond. 

Transforming the Normal Healthcare Setting

In lieu of inpatient services, healthcare organizations are shifting delivery of care to outpatient hospital departments and ambulatory surgical centers. 

Delivering high-quality medical care goes beyond just treating an ailment and helping patients get well – it requires delving into the entire patient experience picture. Outpatient facilities are more accessible for individuals. They also discharge patients quicker and decrease the risk of patients falling victim to hospital-acquired infections. 

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently proposed a new rule aimed at encouraging healthcare systems to transition a greater portion of their procedures to outpatient facilities – which would effectively lower costs and bolster patient satisfaction rates.

Artificial Intelligence & Patient Care

AI and machine learning are slated to be two of the biggest disruptors in the industry in the coming years. Analyzing patient data to identify patterns or determine one’s likelihood of being susceptible to a certain ailment will help clinicians better predict patient health and deliver timely care. 

Accessibility to predictive analytics will allow technology to mine genomic, claim and population health data to identify things like hospital readmission, patients that are likely to fall sick in a specified time period and the costs associated with treating illnesses and chronic conditions.

AI can also be leveraged for early intervention for at-risk populations. This could help minimize costs for both providers and patients by intervening in the early stages before a high-cost incident occurs. 

Clinicians would be able to connect patients with programs that can track and effectively manage any chronic conditions they may be battling. This will lead to better patient outcomes, higher quality of care delivered and reduced expenditure. 

In addition to data-driven decision-making and innovative machinery, like robotic AI-assisted surgery, a major advantage of AI is its ability to eliminate administrative burden – allowing for an increase in face-to-face interaction between physicians or nurses and their patients.

Focus on Value-Based Care

Under a value-based system, healthcare staff will be compensated based on the health outcomes of their patients; in lieu of the number of hours logged or patients seen. Some of the factors used to measure health outcomes include a reduction in diagnoses of diseases, an improvement in the overall well-being and health of patients and a patient’s ability to live and care for themselves independently.  

As Medicaid and Medicare services continue to fine-tune rules surrounding payments under value-based programs, healthcare organizations will be able to better adapt and refine care delivery systems to enhance patient satisfaction and amplify quality output.

Improved Interoperability

Increasing interoperability, especially within large healthcare systems, will not only be highly beneficial for patients, who will be able to access personal data in a single portal, but it’ll help clinicians view and access pertinent information, like lab results or imaging, from any site under the same healthcare umbrella. 

Where improved interoperability will make a tremendous impact, however, is by tracking and merging patient data from across state lines or from the different facilities that patients visit over their lifetime. Changes are already being implemented – from Apple’s Health Records platform to Amazon’s purchase of PillPack, which will bring the Prime experience to the consumer medical realm. 

Greater Emphasis Placed on Cybersecurity

With digital disruption comes the ever-present threat of a data security breach. Malware, phishing schemes, and hacking can all compromise patient privacy. New internal workflows and security measures will need to be implemented to ensure any accidental negligence from healthcare teams doesn’t mutate into a breach of patient records and confidentiality. Increased vigilance, as well as continuous training programs, will help build awareness and minimize the likelihood of both internal and external threats.

From the marriage of man and machine and improved quality of care to workforce management and employment needs, there is a myriad of trends continuing to shape our ever-evolving healthcare system. To ensure your hospital or healthcare facility is set up for success, contact our experts to learn more about our staffing services today.