Healthcare providers have learned a lot over the past couple years; facing a global public health crisis exposed some weaknesses in our healthcare system, but also accelerated advancements like never before. As we head into a new year, let’s look at some of the trends that will be shaping the healthcare industry in the coming year and into the future.
Cater to consumers & convenience
More and more major retailers are entering the healthcare space – such as CVS with their MinuteClinic and Walgreens which will soon be opening primary care clinics called VillageMD across the country. According to a recent article in Forbes, consumerization will continue to be a growing trend as consumers are offered more convenient healthcare options where they can see a doctor, get a prescription, and maybe even pick up some chicken noodle soup, all in one quick stop.
Additionally, the virtual healthcare that popped up everywhere and skyrocketed in popularity during the pandemic won’t be going away anytime soon. Patients appreciated the safety and convenience of being able to be seen for more routine visits without having to leave home.
To compete, existing healthcare providers will need to find ways to be more consumer-centric, such as by offering extended hours, virtual visits, lower wait-times, etc.
Leverage automation, AI & other tech tools
More healthcare systems and practices embraced technology during the pandemic. Automation will continue to be used to reduce cumbersome manual processes and save time for patients and staff. Increasingly, patients check in for their appointments, fill out their forms, or request their refills online, while staff can set up automated follow-up messages and questions to be sent via text or email.
Artificial intelligence and machine automation is also helping to establish better health equity practices, by gaining insights from unstructured data, and preventing the spread of healthcare associated infections by identifying at-risk patients and ensuring more rigorous cleaning protocols. These are just a few examples of what’s possible.
Prioritize wellness & retention of medical staff
Unfortunately, the nursing profession was already infamous for burnout even prior to the COVID pandemic. Many nurses left their jobs during that stressful time, and because there are not enough new graduates to fill their shoes, we are now in the midst of a nursing shortage. Hospitals and other medical providers will have to work to ensure safe working conditions (including proper PPE), take steps to better manage/reduce workload, and offer wellness programs and benefits to increase resiliency and retention in the workforce.
Build back trust
The pandemic spawned a surge of misinformation across the healthcare industry, which caused some people to lose trust in their doctors and medical providers. To build back that trust, healthcare organizations will focus on creating and disseminating clear, accurate, and accessible healthcare information, and fighting back against misinformation with evidence-based, compelling content.
At Valley, we provide financial services for physicians’ groups, ambulatory centers, senior living communities and other organizations throughout the healthcare space. We’ll work closely with you to understand your organization’s objectives and show you solutions that best meet your organization’s banking needs. Set up a consultation today.