The health industry is a hot topic these days. Whether you’re trying to decide what plan on the Marketplace is best for you, or you’re interested in the changes that are happening in the health industry now that we’re always on our smartphones and sending half of our documents via apps instead of by mail–there’s a lot to learn about.
Whether you’re are always in touch with your doctor regarding your daily prescription drugs and how to eliminate them, or you’re curious about how policy changes will affect your monthly insurance bills, it’s important to be informed. So if you’re curious, take a look at the 6 changes occurring in the health industry right now:
1. Technological advancements
One of the biggest changes in the healthcare industry is most certainly technological advancements. They’re changing the very face of medicine as we know it, in large part because of how the Internet of Things is more and more becoming part of the daily fabric of our lives. For example, wearable tracking devices and innovative phone apps have made it possible to monitor different aspects of our health, from the steps we take every day to tracking the insulin in our blood.
It’s a bold new frontier, and there are many exciting ways to take advantage of this already. To take a look at some health-related apps, check out this list from Active.com.
2. Shift from nonprofit to for-profit
Because of the changes in policy to healthcare, and rising costs, many companies are going to find themselves faced with the challenge of having to become more for-profit than nonprofit. Why? In large part, as healthcare costs rise, so will providing this benefit to their employees. This ends up with the result of companies having to become more cost-focused than they ordinarily would be.
At the end of the day, stakeholders should be able to understand this move. After all, what good is a nonprofit if it’s unable to provide its employees with healthcare?
3. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is changing
Another big change–and one that’s quite scary, for many Americans–is the fact that the Affordable Care Act (also known as the ACA, or “Obamacare”) is changing. It’s looking more and more likely that this act isn’t going to be repealed, as originally promised by President Trump, but it’s quite likely that it’s going to be changed quite a lot. According to some health insurance brokers, the rules are changing every month or two.
For any consumer, it’s good to be aware of the changes as they go on. Currently, what you’ll want to pay attention to the most is what will happen to provisions such as the pre-existing clause, whether children will be covered under their parents’ insurance or not (and until what age), and who will be insured and who won’t be.
4. Use of data
Another change in the healthcare industry is that doctors and other healthcare professionals are going to start using data in order to get insights about their patients. After all, we live in a world full of data, so it’s no surprise that this is starting to become part of the system.
Just a few examples of how data is going to change healthcare are: (1) prevention that promotes healthier behaviors (for example, knowing if a patient is in need of a specific kind of care or change in medication), (2) smarter diagnoses and treatments (many developments and outcomes can be more easily reached with a large amount of data), and (3) faster research and development (for example, with clinical trials).
5. Modernizing payment options
Yet another result of the modernization of our everyday lives is the fact that payment options are going to be much simpler in the healthcare industry. Because in the past many consumers have complained about how complicated payment systems are in hospitals and doctors’ offices, payment systems are being changed so that these consumers have a more positive experience.
This means that, once you’ve gotten treated, the entire (metaphorical) headache of paying will be much less trying than it has been in the past.
6. Care everywhere
Additionally, with our modern world, people are starting to get healthcare advice more via their mobiles or computers than in an actual doctor’s office. Otherwise known as telemedicine, this shift is going to make a huge difference especially for rural areas, and it will also popularize preventative medicine instead of emergency treatment. After all, it’s easier to get something checked out early if it’s done from the comfort of your own home.
In 2017, there are many changes occurring in the health industry–and there are certainly going to be more of them in the future. You’ll want to keep yourself as updated as possible, ensuring that you save money where it counts and stay aware of how advances, many of them technological, can make your access to health care easier.
How do these changes affect your everyday health? Which ones make the biggest difference to you?
This post is part of our contributor series. The views expressed are the author's own and not necessarily shared by TNW.