The long-ballyhooed revolution in healthcare comes down to money. U.S. spending on healthcare is projected to balloon within a decade, from the total $3.1 trillion a year recorded for 2014, to $5.5 trillion by 2024, according to the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Or, to look at it another way, healthcare will rise to 20% of spending in the U.S. economy in 2024 from 17.7% in 2014.
Reducing that anticipated spending, as discussed across every healthcare specialty in recent years, has been behind the push by payers, providers, and others away from fee-for-service, volume-driven healthcare. In its place a system driven by decisions reflecting professional consensus informed by clinical evidence is predicted to emerge.
Technology is expected to play no small role in that change by delivering improved care at reduced costs. But as GE Chairman and CEO Jeffrey R. Immelt told attendees a few weeks back at the Radiological Society of North America 2015 Annual Meeting, technology will also need to be accompanied by information and analytics, with all three harnessed into new business models that reduce what payers and providers spend on care.
“We’re going to be working on this the rest of our lives in terms of how to improve healthcare outcomes, costs, and quality,” Immelt said. “Everyone who is in the healthcare industry today has to learn how to grow and take cost out at the same time. They have to learn how to produce great patient outcomes, and do so productively. And that is never going to go away.”
Below are 10 trends that are likely to reshape healthcare in coming years, if not starting in 2016 based on a spot-check of recent journal articles, public announcements, news reports, and commentaries in GEN and elsewhere. GEN’s last look at such trends, in 2013, revealed several that have indeed transformed healthcare for better or worse in the years since, from gene therapy to six-figure drugs.