Another year has come and gone, and while we love reminiscing about the past as much as the next person, today we thought we’d look at the year ahead of us. With the new year now upon us, there’s really no time like the present to pause, before we get our engines going, and look to see what the healthcare industry may have in store for us in 2018. Arming yourself with the possibilities is the first step in preparing for what’s to come. So here are our 2018 healthcare preodictions!
5) Mergers and Acquisitions
Over the past few years, hospital mergers and acquisitions have been rampant throughout the U.S. A cost savings measure brought on by tightening margins throughout the industry. There is no slow down for this trend in sight, as more changes to healthcare force hospitals to make big moves to stay afloat. This trend, however, is not just reserved for hospitals itself but will extend to industry technology and service vendors.
As we continue to place emphasis on our patients and their personal experiences with our facilities, what better way to keep them informed and connected than the one thing everyone has? A tablet or smartphone. In the coming year, watch for the introduction of more mobile friendly healthcare tech to connect both patient and health provider, collecting feedback at every turn. What’s more, in doing so, will offer greater efficiencies for health providers as information–from policies and procedures to patient information–can travel with them from bedside to bedside offering better quality care.
3) AI Forges On
As a kid, I remember watching the Jetson’s and thinking how far-fetched the whole idea of living in the sky, driving flying-cars and having robot servants was. Today, color my face red, with self-driving cars and robots speaking in their own language it seems we’re closer than ever before to live in a Jetsonian age. That being said, we can expect for AI to forge on in the healthcare sphere too. While we’re still in the early stages of AI in healthcare, in 2018 we could see the introduction of care and companionship robots for individuals coping with illness or disabilities.
2) A Move to Automation and Interoperability
As technology around us continues to improve, facilities still using ineffective, inefficient methods to manage operations will need to find a new way to avoid lagging behind. For many, automation has played a key role in improving staff productivity and reducing errors. But, not just any ol’ system. For years, the healthcare world has made demands for interoperability–and for good reason. The more information that is allowed to be shared between systems is not only a huge time saver for staff, but in turn, translates to better care for our patients.
For instance, organizations that have automated their policies and procedures along with leveraging open APIs have benefited greatly. By allowing multiple systems such as EMR, policy, and procedure, and evidence-based content to connect with one another hospital staff have gained a wealth of information at the point of care.
1) Patient Safety Reigns On
Again, we find patient safety at the top of the food chain as it continues to be top of mind. From reducing falls to reducing clinical errors, the healthcare world continues to work towards achieving zero harm. This is why automation continues to be so important in healthcare. By taking away time-consuming tasks or providing information–such as policies and procedures–at the point of care, ensures that staff are administering care that meets standards and regulations.
A common theme in healthcare is always the patient. Providing the best possible care for them will always be a common goal that unites us all and a continued prediction for years to come. So it should come to no surprise that our predictions are all topics and efforts that bring us towards that trajectory. However, over the years, it has become evident that patient safety and quality are two subject matters with moving goal posts. But with good reasons, as if there’s room for improvement then we haven’t truly accomplished what we set out to do. The takeaway here then is the importance to set your organization up for success with the right tools and to be mindful of progressive trends like AI that will undoubtedly impact our lives greatly in the coming years.
For now, the adoption of automation tools, such as policy, contract, and business associate management tools are a great way to build a solid foundation and to streamline workflow, improve safety organization-wide, and to improve output.