Five Top Health Care Trends in 2017

health care trends

Health care was a hotly contested issue this presiden­tial election cycle. From urging Americans to be and stay well to discussions on the longevity of the Affordable Care Act, it stands to reason that the conversation will continue full speed ahead in 2017.

Each year, analysts and pundits alike try to predict the devel­opments that consumers can expect to see across various markets. We did our own research into five of the top health care trends coming down the pipeline.

Rise in telehealth opportunities

Say goodbye to schlepping out of bed, waiting rooms, and paper sheets covering exam tables. While it won’t completely overtake traditional office visits, there are websites popping up that host online doctors.

Here at Concorde, our 2017 benefits will include the option to visit with a board certified physician via secure online chat or phone for a $25 copay. The physicians are available 24/7/365. Although there are limitations, it will be interesting as to whether America embraces this new offering.

Health care trends toward the mobile experience

Medical service providers are finally figuring out what businesses have known for years. Whether patients or consumers, we’re attached to our mobile phones. Or, are our phones attached to us? At any rate, hospitals, doctor’s offices and dental clinics are optimizing their websites to allow for a more enjoyable experience.

There is also an increased focus in monitoring online reviews and customer satisfac­tion scores. Whether needing a specialized procedure or moving to a new area of town, patients shop for providers just as they would any other product/service and they do it … from their phones.

Health care trends toward wearable technology

Products like the Fitbit line and Garmin’s wearable health technology took the world by storm the last few years. As ubiquitous as they seem, additional features are constantly being integrated into the wrist-sized computers.

In fact, the global wearables market is expected to reach a value of $19 billion in 2018, more than 10 times its value five years prior.

Look for technology that is Bluetooth compatible, has the ability to track/send data to your doctor’s office and monitor a plethora of activities simultaneously.

Incentivizing taking an active role in health care

Rewarding good behavior isn’t just for children. Give adults a worthwhile prize and we’ll do things, too.

Organizations and insurance companies are incentivizing preventative care, diagnostic check-ups and consulta­tions with health coaches in exchange for discounts on monthly premiums. In other cases inducements are offered to improve and correct less than desirable behaviors.

An article published last year by Michael Dermer concluded, after studying the birth of these type of plans, “When financial incentives are aligned to the behaviors that improve health or optimize utilization of health resources, everyone in the health care community wins.”

Growth of health care support roles

Even with the introduction of online doctor visits, U.S. News and World Report still contends that, “The health care support field is predicted to be one of the fastest-grow­ing job segments in the next decade, according to the BLS, with a 23 percent increase, or about 974,000 new jobs.”

As America continues to age and the birth-rate returns to above average numbers, a growing number of profes­sionals are needed to care for them. That, coupled with technology and increased access to health care, and the market creates a demand that desperately needs to be filled.

It’s why there has never been a better time to hold or pursue a health care degree. Don’t let your skills go stale! Invest the time in continuing education, keep your certifications up to date and, if it makes sense for your career path, consider the next degree in your field.

Whatever you choose, remember, we’re here to help in 2017 and beyond!

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