5 Major Healthcare Trends in 2013

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The New Year is here and that means that change in upon us. Whether they be New Year's resolutions or federal legislations that will come into play this year, 2013 is sure to be an important year for many American citizens, especially for those of us in the healthcare industry.

The landscape of the healthcare industry will undergo historic transformation in 2013. Here are a few trends that The Patient Forum has identified that will substantially shape our industry in the coming year.

  1. Increased demand in healthcare staffing. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, healthcare employment increased an average of 26,000 jobs per month in 2012. This trend is predicted to continue and is almost assured, given the imminent full implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the nation’s growing elderly population. A study completed at Georgetown University predicts the number of healthcare workers will have to expand by almost 30 percent overall by 2020, which will be the most dramatic growth of any sector in the U.S.
  2. Industry preparation for the ACA. From major hospitals to small family practitioners, healthcare businesses will be focusing on how the ACA will impact their day-to-day operations, patients and bottom lines. Communication and outreach will be key. Administrators will need to proactively inform employees and current and future patients about changes in coverage, benefits and access to care.
  3. The digital age meets the masses. Advances in technology for both practitioners and patients will reshape the way care and information are delivered. Practitioners are now heavily dependent on tablets…66% used them in 2012, up from 45% just a year earlier. Tablets provide caregivers easy access to EHR data, drug information and other valuable data right at their fingertips. Patients are using advances to load healthcare apps on their phones, including ones that measure blood pressure, blood glucose, steps- taken- in-a-day and much more.  And, greater acceptance of “the cloud” will continue to improve data storage and off-site access.
  4. More opportunities for specialty training. The pending physician shortage and overall increased demand for healthcare practitioners will lead to more opportunities for physician assistants, PTs, specialty nurses and nurse practitioners. Employment of physician assistants alone is expected to increase 30 percent from 2010 to 2020, much faster than the average for all U.S. occupations.
  5. Focus on consumer awareness and preventative care. The ACA will also encourage the continued growth of health awareness and disease prevention.  According to CNN, just 5% of the U.S. population accounts for more than 50% of costs, mainly due to overuse of emergency care. All types of organizations will institute and/or support health and wellness programs to encourage better health and prevention and reduce costs.


What other trends do you see developing in 2013? Please discuss below in the comment section.

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