Like many other industries, the business of healthcare continues to undergo changes that create challenges, and opportunities.  We briefly discuss here some of the top trends that health care leaders need to address to succeed both short and long term in this dynamic industry.

Rising Costs

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid services project that aggregate health care spending in the U.S. will grow at an average rate of 5.8 percent through 2025, which is 1.3 points higher than expected growth in the gross domestic product (GDP) for the same time frame.  This increase in costs is a concern for health care leaders as well as companies who provide health care coverage to employees.  Leaders must find innovative ways to provide quality care while maintain financial success.

Regulatory Challenges

Healthcare is a highly regulated industry and significant resources are employed to comply with and function within the changing regulatory landscape.  There is no doubt that meeting regulatory compliance increases the cost of care.  Technology and regulatory trends are very intertwined, as the complicated and expensive IT systems implemented at health organizations are in large part intended to meet compliance requirements.  The question is does all the regulation align with improving patient care?  Nonetheless, failure to comply with regulations could prove disastrous for a health care organization. 

Service Level Technology

Advances in technology tools and use will change every facet of healthcare, from the way services are provided to the way organizations are managed.  Digital and telecom technology are being utilized to advance Telemedicine services, where patients may receive care virtually via the phone and internet.  Technology will also further facilitate patient communication, access to health records, scheduling and payments for service.  Some facilities are now using self-service kiosks to allow registration, check-in and payments directly by the patient. 

Organizational Level Technology

Health care leaders continue to find ways to leverage data to make both strategic and tactical decisions to move to improve their organizations. The use of big data will help establish effective programs in community health, clinical integration and improve operational effectiveness.  The challenge for may leaders is the need to re-engineer their technology platforms to be able to harness and analyze big data to improve clinical workflow and care.

 Market Disruption

Health care leaders must be progressive in understanding emerging market players and anticipating any industry ‘game changers.’  The entry of Apple, Google and Amazon into the healthcare space needs to be closely watched.  Health care leaders will learn from the future successes – and failures – these consumer-focused organizations experience as they pursue new and potentially market disruptive health care ventures.

Other subjects that are near top of mind for many health care leaders include:

  • Cyber Security
  • Value based care and payment models
  • Pharmaceutical costs
  • Opioid management