Healthcare can be confusing to navigate, especially when trends change rapidly with advancements in science and technology and government regulations. Learn about six trends you need to know to be a savvy consumer in 2019.

6 Healthcare Trends to Look for in 2019

The Aging Wave

The Census Bureau projects that in 2034, for the first time ever, people 65 and older will outnumber those under 18. Additionally, Medicare enrollment is projected to increase by nearly 50 percent, rising from 54 million today to more than 80 million in 2030. This aging wave creates multiple ripples, starting with the healthcare needs of seniors who are increasingly living with one or more chronic condition that requires long-term care in a healthcare facility or at home. It also impacts spouses or adult children who take on the often full-time role of providing or coordinating care, which can leave them facing caregiver burnout as they continue to work or raise their own children.

In 2019, expect to hear more on how providers are adapting to handle the volume of seniors, through new construction or home care.

Silver Architecture

We’ve been hearing about designing green for years to make sure facilities are energy efficient and cost-effective. However, adults over the age of 74 had the highest rate of hospital stays in 2014, followed by people in their late 60s and early 70s, so it makes a great deal of sense to shift to what is being referred to as “silver architecture.” These designs help improve quality of life and independence for an aging population and are well-lit, quiet, accessible and safe to navigate for assistive devices like wheelchairs and walkers.   

Value-Based Care

In a value-based healthcare system, providers, hospitals and physicians are paid based on their patient’s health outcomes, rather than how many patients they see or how many hours they log. Health outcomes are measured in factors such as improvement in overall health, reduced diagnoses of chronic diseases and ability to live independently at home.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services continues to expand and refine rules about payments in value-based systems, so providers will continue to adapt their care delivery models to improve quality and patient satisfaction, while reducing repeat hospital stays.

Patient Engagement

Studies show that people who are more involved in decisions about their care plan see better health outcomes. But these people are generally more satisfied with their care as well, which can be a large advantage to healthcare providers who rely on online reviews to inform potential patients and families to choose care with them. In 2019, expect to see more engagement programs, apps and technology, and health literacy initiatives that aim to educate people on their condition and care.

Digital Healthcare

Digital health can help providers to better track, manage and improve patients’ health, empowering them to live more independently and productively. Some examples of digital healthcare are:

  • Telemedicine is used by health professionals to evaluate, diagnose and treat people who may not live in the vicinity of a physician’s office or hospital, or simply have more trouble leaving home. It can also cut down on waiting room times for less urgent needs.
  • About 80 percent of healthcare industry participants believe that Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be a game changer in 2019. Experts believe that AI can help with diagnostic imaging, drug discovery and risk analytics applications.
  • Wearable health technology continues to gain traction because it allows healthcare professionals to help people manage chronic conditions by steadily receiving health information and proactively treating any problems that may arise.
  • One of the largest concerns for healthcare providers is cybersecurity, or protecting the privacy and security of information to maintain trust with patients and their families. In 2018, a group of major health systems joined a pilot to determine if blockchain technology could help with improving and streamlining care. Learn more about blockchain technology here.

At Kindred, we offer quality specialty hospital care and intensive rehabilitation. Take a look around our website to learn about different services, or sign up for The Kindred Spirit to get helpful tips on navigating healthcare directly to your inbox.