Legislation, lawsuits and economic constraints are changing healthcare as we know it. The industry is shifting in terms of the services provided and today we are seeing new competition, new services and new ways of doing business in the healthcare profession. There are major shifts in the delivery of care, and the marker should anticipate seeing significant changes in the way that we contract for and receive healthcare services.
One of the big changes looming is in the way that chronic or long term care needs are addresses. The biggest healthcare consumers are clearly those with chronic conditions or diseases. Statistically speaking, chronic conditions are thought to increase care costs by a factor of three. To the extent that providers can actually manage chromic conditions by way of an integrated practice, we might anticipate a reduction in the number of inpatient bed stays, length of stay, admissions, ER visits, and readmissions.
Health coaching is another innovative trend, whereby coaches function similarly to gym trainers. They motivate, inspire, and challenge subscribers to take better care of their primary health needs. Coaches get to know their clients one on one and end up developing a better rapport with the patient, perhaps getting to know them far better than with a clinical staff. These positions are not necessarily staffed by personnel with medical degrees, so accordingly, there is also a trend towards inherent savings when possible.
Whereas house calls were once thought to be a thing of the past, there is now also the issue of whether it makes more sense to treat certain patients from home. In the case of chronic care this truly makes sense, where costs are reduced and patient satisfaction is greatly elevated. Acute care delivered at home has the ability to triage and assess potential problems before they grow into something that requires a much more rigorous course of care.