Trends in Hospital Patient Care
The Health Care industry continues its rapid evolution partly in response to legislative changes and also due to technological advances and financial pressures. As one would expect with all of the industry tumult, patient care is undergoing its share of change as well. Let’s take a brief look at four emerging trends hospital patients are seeing in 2017.
Analytics – The intent behind the proliferation of electronic medical records is not simply as a mechanism to easily store and share patient medical records between providers, they are now also being used as part of the patient care process. Wherever there is a wealth of data, opportunities exist for data analysis to detect trends, identify successful strategies, and mine actionable information. Analytics is the next logical step toward the utilization of artificial intelligence in the optimization of patient care and clinical decision-making.
Community Paramedicine – Emergency Departments have long been overburdened and often misused. Almost 50% of Medicare patients arriving by ambulance at hospital emergency rooms are never admitted to the hospital. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services spends close to $2 billion per year on patients who use the ER instead of primary care. One trend that hospitals are using to alleviate ER pressures is by utilizing emergency medical technicians and paramedics to provide additional services in communities. One mechanism for this is to identify and flag “frequent callers” who are known to utilize 9-1-1 for non-emergent medical issues. Paramedics can then conduct more thorough initial assessments in the field before transport to the ER. Other ways community paramedicine is being used is by proactively managing patients with chronic diseases, like asthma or diabetes. EMS providers can make house calls to ensure patients are taking their medications, perform basic blood and vital sign tests, and answer any patient concerns.
DNA Sequencing – The more researchers understand about DNA sequencing, the more ways are being found to use it in medicine. From understanding the role genetics play in certain diseases to understanding how a person’s genes affect their response to medications. Someday soon, hospitals will be able to administer drugs specifically tailored to a patient based on their genetic makeup rather than the “one-size-fits-all” medicines administered today.
Transparency – As the costs of medical care continue to rise and health insurance deductibles rise, patients are adopting the principles of being a consumer first. One way hospitals are adapting to the rise of consumerism is by becoming more transparent. From easy access to doctor reviews to the publication of costs and financial information, now that patients are bearing more of the costs of care they are demanding more information and involvement in the process.
This year has been volatile for the healthcare industry thus far, and there are no signs that it will slow down in 2018. All of us are still waiting to find out what is going to happen with the Affordable Care Act and any improvements or replacements that will surely follow. Healthcare consumers are demanding relief from rising costs and the uncertainty in Washington is doing nothing to provide the much-needed break. What we do know with certainty is that technology and medical advancements will continue to reshape the patient experience in hospitals everywhere. Patients will continue to be more involved and better informed, and big data will be utilized in new ways to improve care and reduce costs.
What trends do you see in the hospital where you work? We would love to hear from you in the comment section below or by commenting on our Facebook page.