While many aspects of the Affordable Care Act drove significant new opportunities, innovation and change in healthcare, this recent article from Harvard Business Review points out that there are trends that are not dependent on the system. In particular they identify three trends that are not dependent on the act in its current form:
- Aging population
- Technology adoption
- Discoveries in life sciences
However, we think there are at least three more that will mean that the momentum in technology innovation and a patient-centered approach will continue.
- Consumer focus: High deductibles are driving two types of behavior. Patients are acting more like consumers and are shopping with their healthcare dollars. Healthcare organizations are trying to attract patients and better understand their experiences and pathways through the organization. The expectation of good and real-time service is high.
- People are getting less healthy: While we would like to see this change on its own, through diet and exercise, the fact is that people are not eating well or active enough, and the rates of diabetes and pre-diabetes are increasing. By 2030, it’s estimated that over 470M people world-wide will have pre-diabetes.
- Value stays top of mind: Our healthcare costs cannot keep rising indefinitely, and experiments in value-based payments have shown to work. Payer/provider organizations are looking to deliver better outcomes at lower costs, and patient self-management and self activation can help with that.
While patient engagement is not the only solution, we believe activated people and patients are an under-utilized source of positive health outcomes. Regardless in of changes in the healthcare act, that will remain true.
Patient engagement has been a mantra for those seeking to reform health care, as it’s widely accepted that patients who are engaged in their own health care have better outcomes. Frank Baitman & Kenneth Karpay