The past few years have seen radical changes in the healthcare industry. Health insurance reform, widespread medical record digitization, and breakthroughs in technology and medicine have helped to improve the patient experience as well as outcomes. As these changes persist into the future, patients will become educated participants in healthcare more and more, rather than passive receivers of care.
Critical to the shift to the future of healthcare is price transparency in records and pricing. When patients can view their own records and “shop around” for the best health services, healthcare providers are forced to improve treatments and price services competitively. Since there are no standards in place for healthcare pricing, providers have been able to charge dramatically different prices for the same services, even within the same area. This is changing quickly though with greater transparency.
Increase in Preventative Care
One of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act altered insurance plans to cover most preventative care. Since patients have to pay little to nothing out of pocket for most preventative care, we will likely see greater numbers of diseases caught in early stages as patients take advantage of “free” screenings and check-ups. The more patients see outcomes improve with early diagnosis, the faster this trend towards preventative care will move.
Collaborative Care in Real Time
With mHealth apps like Save On Medical and the Internet of Things beginning to be integrated into treatment plans, healthcare is shifting from a one-way relationship where the provider dictates the treatment to the receiver to a more collaborative back-and-forth dynamic. Patients can ask questions of their doctor through messaging and doctors can alter plans on the fly as needed, rather than having to assess and re-evaluate only at medical appointments. This approach is more personal, collaborative, and potentially more effective.
More Universal Pricing
Several extreme increases in drug pricing over the last year have spurned public concern about price gouging within the healthcare industry. While there is currently no legislation in place regarding the pricing of medicine and medical procedures, we may soon see this change. As the landscape of healthcare shifts to more of a “buyer’s market,” what patients demand may be considered more heavily. Greater transparency and pricing fairness will most likely be some of the first items on the agenda.
Smoother Patient Experience
The introduction of Electronic Health Records, or EHRs, has been rocky so far. However, the patient experience will be streamlined by a shift to digitization. At some point, patients will no longer have to pick up paper records or request that records be faxed or emailed; there will be a complete patient history that can be accessed. Medical billing will also be simplified and streamlined, with patients knowing exactly what to expect and fewer denied claims as transparency and collaboration become the norm.
This is an exciting time for healthcare, with innovations and reformations helping to improve the industry. Don’t forget to subscribe to our blog for more price transparency news, tools, and updates.
Written By: Amanda Gaid