In the year 2014, health care trends were revolving around the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the changes that would face not only insurance companies but also the delivery of healthcare (DeVore, 2014). Trends are still centered on the ACA, and two trends that are major players in the delivery of care are health coaches and telemedicine.
Affordable care organizations (ACOs) focus on people with multiple chronic conditions because they are the most costly in the healthcare system. They have more hospital stays, more prescriptions, and they require more time. ACOs were formed to spread and lessen the cost of healthcare delivery, but in order to do that, they had to have the resources to manage patients with multiple chronic conditions.
Health coaches don’t have to be doctors or nurses, but they are trained professionals who spend time evaluating patients’ care plans and spend time with the patient motivating and planning future health needs. This is effective because many chronic conditions can be managed, and patients simply need coaching to require less prescriptions and reduce hospital visits. Fortunately, there has been an influx of insured patients, but with that comes more patients with chronic conditions. Health coaches reduce the burden on providers who are faced with time constraints and full schedules. They give patients the opportunity and the drive to succeed at managing their own chronic conditions.
Telemedicine has also boomed in the industry due to a need for more healthcare access. Triage nurses can manage patients to prevent unnecessary emergency room visits and refer patients to the proper facilities to manage their condition. Rural healthcare facilities increase access to care through telemedicine to those who live too far away to reach hospitals or primary care facilities.
One trend in healthcare that is not mentioned in the article is the integration of mental healthcare and primary healthcare. The integration has proven to be challenging but an important aspect of treating “the whole patient.” The future will see a combined care model, but ethics and insurance continue to be an obstacle.
The trends happening in 2014 are still being developed and perfected today. They are a positive contribution to the healthcare system because they focus on complete healthcare delivery, which in the past has been less effective due to segmented care as opposed to collaborative care. Collaborative care better treats patients with multiple chronic conditions, which can lessen costs to the healthcare system.
- Devore, S. (2014, Feb 10). The changing healthcare world: trends to watch in 2014. Health Affairs Blog.