The Affordable Care Act has marked several key deadlines over the last three years, but with mandatory coverage in place and 2.2 million new entrants in the health insurance market, we expect 2014 to be a banner year for the healthcare industry. Where is healthcare headed in 2014? Here are our top predictions:
The Growing Role of Technology
For payers and providers alike, technology has the potential to personalize and enrich the consumer experience. From cutting-edge apps to electronic healthcare records, finding innovative ways to increase efficiency and improve quality of care will continue to be an industry-wide priority in 2014. We foresee an influx of tools to measure effectiveness, share best practices, and promote agility.
For consumers, scheduling appointments becomes easier as online tools for around the clock booking become more refined. An interface allowing insurance shoppers to view all private, state and federally run exchanges within a single online marketplace will allow easy cost, benefit, and quality comparisons. Health insurers will tap into the power of big data, acquiring population health data as they seek to improve plan offerings in alignment with trends in the marketplace. Developments in genetics and genomics tracking and testing will make diagnoses more precise, with tools such as YouScript emerging to determine the most effective treatment and dosage for individual patients.
A Customer-centric Approach
As empowered consumers take control of their own care, they will seek out a more efficient, seamless, holistic (and affordable) healthcare experience, demanding readily available, user-friendly access to their own health data. Information is powerful, and robust self-service tools will be needed to keep pace with consumer expectations.
When it comes to delivering quality care, Accountable Care Organizations will take on an increased role in preventative care and proactive health management. Customized healthcare, tailored to individual patients, becomes the new normal.
Transparency Becomes More… Transparent
The push for transparency will maintain forward momentum in 2014. In addition to comparing deductibles and co-pays, insurers will provide more complete picture of the true costs and benefits of insurance plans, giving shoppers greater insight into the quality and value of their coverage.
Competition Spurs Innovation
Increasing competition means that payers and providers alike will need to differentiate themselves with quality of care and effective outcomes. One key to succeeding in this competitive market will be endless innovation. Non-traditional entrants to the marketplace are expected to partner with traditional players to create new, lifestyle-based models of healthcare.
Around the Clock Accessibility
Consumers have come to expect information and service available anytime, anywhere. We will continue to see that reflected across the industry, as a push toward near-constant accessibility makes care and information available around the clock and across multiple devices.
Reaching the ever increasing number of newly insured, and delivering on the promise of valuable, available healthcare will rely heavily on technology. For insurers, the key to success in this new marketplace is a well-defined digital strategy that enables a new level of engagement with an expanding customer base.