2019 Happy New Year: Top 5 Healthcare Trends to Watch For

It seems impossible that New Year’s has come and gone, we’ve celebrated with friends and family, clinked our glasses and shouted “Happy New Year” to every path we cross. As we lay 2018 to rest and step across the threshold to 2019, there will be a lot of changes that take place in the way we do business, engage with our patients and approach healthcare overall.  Here are a few things to look for:

1.       Elevated Patient Engagement.  The term “Patient Engagement” is not new to any of us but we will be learning more about what it means to actually have a patient engaged and what processes we need to put in place during 2019 to achieve true engagement overall.  Let’s face it, patients absolutely must get more involved in their own care if we’re ever going to achieve better outcomes and reduced costs.  The key is for healthcare providers across all specialties to learn how to increase each patient’s capacity for understanding and participating in their care.  We’re going to be hearing about new policies and steps that organizations of all sizes can put in place to make sure we’re doing everything we can to empower our patients and make healthcare personal again.

2.       Convenient Access to Care.  Though we’ve had opportunity to add telehealth to the services we offer, give patients access to patient portals and more; it appears that 2019 will be the year of intentional growth for these services as we focus on making it as easy as possible for patients to get the care they need.  Patients will ask more questions through their patient portals and are twice as likely to attend follow-up visits that can be done via telehealth.  The goal of expanding access to care is really to make it as convenient as possible for patients to get the medical advice and care they need.  Patient portals will also be playing a key role in health management for an entire family, not just an individual patient.

3.       Chronic Care Management.  CCM is going to explode in 2019.  Though the program has been around for several years, many physicians have been slow to adopt.  This will not be the case moving forward.  In lieu of primary care physicians, specialists such as Urologists and Nephrologists have begun to take advantage of what CCM can add to their practice.  Most of the time, these specialists understand that outsourcing is not only more cost-effective but is every bit as valuable to both the patient and to the added revenue stream the program creates for their practice.  CCM is a win/win situation and we’ll see massive growth in the coming year.

4.       Digitalized Health Management.  Now that the healthcare industry has finally embraced technology, the growth will continue rapidly as every aspect of the system adopts easier workflows and processes.  More and more patients will pay accounts online, set appointments online, complete intake forms online, etc.  The ability to track vitals, glucose levels and more all in one place for the doctor and patient to monitor is going to see extreme growth.  We’re living in digital times now and just because healthcare was the last to adopt doesn’t mean we won’t fully embrace it now that it’s here.

5.       Opioid Crisis Stabilization.  In 2019 there will be new programs that offer alternative therapies for helping patients who are diagnosed with Opioid Misuse Disorder.  We’re going to see more and more success as we begin to address what is one of the worst health crises the United States has ever seen.  Education, telehealth and alternative therapies will all play a key role in turning the corner.

These are just the top 5 trends we will see in 2019.  Make no mistake that we will continue to adapt to better, more technology-assisted methodologies in every aspect of care, not just mainstream.  We at iSalus Healthcare are eager to join in and be part of the innovation that continues to impact health outcomes overall and creates a more personal healthcare experience for everyone.  We look forward to partnering with you in 2019 and beyond.