Upcoming Trends in Health Influenced by COVID Predicted

What trends in U.S. healthcare practices can we expect in the near future?

A report from the national sector leader from Deloitte’s healthcare practice has a report outlining trends that could emerge or accelerate in healthcare.

In summary, here are Tina Wheeler’s  six predictions:

1. More interest in practicing medicine. During the China Virus COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a surge in medical school applications — some admissions officers believe it’s due to more isolation and less classroom time.

2. Medical school students could be more interested in public health. Wheeler predicts more medical school students could be more interested in job opportunities with public health organizations several years from now. The Association of American Medical Colleges indicates some medical schools have added electives that offer students more of these types of opportunities.

3. Physicians will likely see their reliance on virtual health grow. The pandemic has accelerated the use of virtual health. There’s a surge in learning how to interview standardized patients online platforms. Wheeler thinks physicians will likely need this skill as more care is delivered virtually. 

4. Patients could receive more hospital-level care at home. Hospitals are providing more care in people’s homes. For example, telehealth company Amwell announced its involvement March 10 in a hospital-at-home care initiative backed by Amazon, Salt Lake City-based Intermountain and St. Louis-based Ascension.  

5. Transparent pricing could spur newly engaged digital customers. President Donald J. Trump’s price transparency rule requiring hospitals to post their standard charges online took effect Jan. 1. As long as the Biden Administration leaves the rule as is, this could help educate and empower consumers, and newly engaged digital consumers will likely have more influence in healthcare.

“The new rules are creating mandates and opportunities for greater data-sharing in the industry,” Wheeler wrote. She said health plans might specifically find opportunities for greater data-sharing to improve social, economic, and environmental factors that affect health outcomes.

6. Interoperability will change healthcare interactions: Health and Human Services has finalized two interoperability rules issued by Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC)  and Center of Medicare and Medicaid Services (OMC).

Wheeler thinks these rules will change healthcare interactions by meeting empowered consumer needs and supporting consumer choice. She said health plans can spend time understanding how data sharing can help them empower and guide members and improve their healthcare experience. 

Drawbacks in Tele-Healthcare

Although Wheeler did not address these, here are challenges for the advancement of healthcare through teleconferencing and telemedicine.

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