Many organizations across the continuum of care should expect 2019 to be a year of innovation, as well as uncertainty. Experts predict change in terms of healthcare financing, merger and acquisition activity, and new technology coming into play. The need keeps growing for everyone in the industry to find new ways to provide value-based healthcare and to deter hackers. Like usual, most providers will continue to focus on employee recruitment, development, treatment, and retention.
This blog post, focused on trends 7-10, is the third of three based on our Webinar, 10 Trends That Are Redefining Care Across the Continuum, presented by HealthStream’s Robin Rose, Vice President, Healthcare Resource Group, and Robyne Wilcox, Channel Director, Continuum.
Trend Seven: The Internet of Caring Things is Exploding
From 2005 to 2020, it is estimated that the use of connected devices, mostly PCs, smart phones, and tablets, will have grown from 2.5 billion to more than 30 billion, with the growth being attributed to devices outside the realm of traditional computers. A hundred new connected devices are coming online every second, from the NEST learning thermostat and Nike Fuelbands to Fitbits. We’ve heard about smart cups that measure water intake and ensure your hydration, carpets sensing impending falls, and smart mattresses that monitor sleep patterns. Mainstream innovations are transforming the post-acute care sector with remote patient monitoring.
Digital tools are collecting health data. For example, digital pills can interact with a smart phone to measure when a pill was taken. If you have an elderly relative or friend that is taking multiple medications, you know how confusing it can be. Wander management wearables can track people who are likely to get up in the middle of the night. Some caregivers are using the Internet as well for decision support. In just 10 years, the healthcare industry will likely look very different.
Trend Eight: Artificial Intelligence Is Dramatically Changing Healthcare
121 health artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning companies raised $2.7 billion in 206 deals between 2011 and 2017. The 10 most promising applications potentially can create up to $150 billion in savings by 2026. This is changing the way we deliver trainings and assessments, as well. Healthcare is leveraging AI and taxonomy to connect people, content, and data in a way that was not possible a few years ago.
The leading healthcare applications so far include robotic assistant surgery, virtual nursing assistants, fraud detection, and cybersecurity. A plethora of applications is starting to show up in the healthcare industry. AI clearly has the potential to drive meaningful change at numerous points across the care continuum. A Saatchi and Saatchi consultant shared, “AI has the potential to improve healthcare outcomes by 30 to 40% while simultaneously cutting the costs of treatment in half.”
Trend Nine: We Need More Joy in Work
Burnout is high in this sector, as well as turnover—37% of newly licensed RNs consider leaving the profession in their first year of practice. Astoundingly, 54% of U.S. physicians consider themselves as burnt out, and 60% of physicians are considering leaving the profession. The average annual turnover rate in a skilled nursing facility is 69%. The average turnover rate for home health agencies is 32%. These are very hard jobs and they are taking a huge toll on our people. The Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), combatting burnout, wants to help bring joy back into healthcare work. Evidence indicates that management practices aimed at producing a joyful, engaged workforce result in lower burnout, fewer medical errors, and a better patient experience. Start by asking staff and physicians what really matters to them and what could be done to make things better.
A recent Provider Magazine study asked long-term care workers what made them happy and what made them want to stay with an employer. It all came down to an employer’s visible commitment to individuals. The key drivers of seeing commitment were leadership, a culture of perpetual learning and improvement, and opportunities for growth and development. Seeing these investments made employees happier and more willing to stay. Organizations must ensure managers have the leadership skills that they need—it all comes down to training.
Trend Ten: Digital healthcare organizations are emerging
Organizations are becoming digital in a way that’s very responsive to the needs of patients and consumers. They are putting together patient portals, addressing patient literacy, and providing cost transparency. Leading organizations are instituting digital payments, referral management, and wearables. These technology solutions bring the customer closer to the healthcare organization.
Mayur Gupta at Vision Critical shared, “When thinking digital transformation, I find it useful to define what it is not. It isn’t just about automation of processes or jobs. Or even new technology. It’s much bigger and more fundamental than that. Digital transformation requires rethinking business processes. It’s about using digital technologies and data to put the customer at the center of your business.” The priorities for digital innovation include patient-generated data, customized services, and devices that transmit our daily functioning information to providers. Other important areas of focus are network utilization to help systems keep track of patients and their networks, referral management to help people get the right people to the right physician at the right time, community support, and convenient patient access.
Access the full webinar about trends redefining care across the continuum here.
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