3 Big Upcoming Changes to the Health Care Industry

By Michael Galvan | 04/27/2016

Sweeping changes are expected to the healthcare field throughout 2016. These changes will have sizeable impacts on consumers, doctors, employers, and providers alike. Knowing what these updates and revisions look like ahead of time will keep you informed and prepared. This year, there are three big changes that everyone should know about.

1. The Rise of Mobile Health Technology Will Begin To Crescendo

There have been consumer health wearables products on the market for a few years now, but they are just beginning to realize their full potential. Devices like the Apple Watch, Samsung Gear 2, and Fitbit will continue to improve and integrate with 3rd party apps and vendors. However, this is only one small part of the mobile health technology equation.

Soon FDA-approved “medical-grade wearables” will begin to roll out. Many of these products will be diagnostic tools used to monitor everything from glucose levels to seizures. These products will help detect life-threatening situations and problems associated with chronic diseases. Medical wearable technology may become a nearly $41 billion dollar market by 2020.

Increased use of the mobile health technology rise is likely to focus on corporate wellness programs. Using proprietary apps, companies like Viverae are ushering in new ways to approach workforce management programs that allow employees to track their biometric data from their smartphone and begin to take steps toward lifestyle changes that improve their health and reduce company healthcare premiums.

Finally, consumers and providers will utilize telemedicine more frequently. Telemedicine enables clinicians to communicate with patients from a distance, thereby avoiding expensive and unnecessary trips to the hospital or a primary care provider. The amount of consumers using mobile health apps have doubled in the last two years. There is a good chance that this technology will become ever more mobile-oriented and patients will start taking appointments through their phone.

2. Health Savings Accounts Will Become More Popular

As more and more sections of the Affordable Care Act begin to come into effect, it will dramatically change the way many companies structure their healthcare plans. In an effort to contain costs, many employers will offer user-directed health insurance plans. These options have low premiums and give employees more freedom about how they pay for their coverage. They also require that workers pay more out-of-pocket when an incident does occur.

This means that families and individuals will have to be thoughtful about the way they purchase their healthcare plans. Health savings accounts allow people to bank small amounts of money from each pay check to pay for medical costs. This will be ideal for more and more people as more à la carte healthcare options become available.

3. Retail Healthcare Options Will Boom

The healthcare economy is growing and becoming more diversified. As consumers look for quicker and more cost-effective options, many will turn to retail healthcare. Retail health centers are designed to handle the vast majority of minor ailments, eliminating time spent at an emergency room or primary care doctor.

Another advantage of the retail healthcare option is that there are many locations available. This gives consumers the opportunity to find treatment near where they live and work.

 

2016 is poised to be a big year for healthcare; the rise of new technology, sweeping reform, and diverse treatment options will radically shift the landscape. If you own a business and are interested in learning more about how these changes will affect your company, click here speak with our occupational medicine specialists who have expertise in employer healthcare