How 3 healthcare trends are challenging industry paradigms

Michael Davis, MD, a professor and the chief of urology and surgical director of the renal transplant program at University of New Mexico Health System in Albuquerque, joined Becker's to discuss what healthcare innovations he thinks show the most promise. 

Question: What healthcare trends are you most excited about?

Dr. Michael Davis: Changes in healthcare have seen dramatic increases in the last 10 years, and post-pandemic trends have accelerated innovation in an industry that has traditionally lagged behind other industries. In my opinion, one of the most exciting trends in healthcare is artificial intelligence. The fact there are now multiple startups in AI and healthcare backed by private equity shows that I am not the only one that thinks AI shows a lot of promise. The recent announcement by Epic that it is blending AI into its EHR system with an ambient listening system is a great example of how AI could possibly decrease time per encounter, allowing for more face-to-face time with patients. AI will help decrease the administrative burden for providers and be used as a tool to enhance practice efficiency. This will allow for a better healthcare consumer experience. I am excited to see the products that will be available to healthcare professionals in the next 10 years.

The second trend that is exciting was accelerated by the pandemic, but has shown to be greatly useful in healthcare, is virtual healthcare. This is a great example of how technology can make healthcare more easily accessible to patients without the need to come to an office. The trends in other industries have shown that the days of brick-and-mortar space are no longer necessary. Examples are Amazon, Netflix and Uber. Healthcare is no exception. In certain areas of healthcare, this is a viable and sustainable option that increases patient satisfaction. 

Mental healthcare services, chronic condition management and even some urgent care issues can all be performed in a virtual setting. As long as delivery can be remunerated, virtual healthcare is an option that patients want, and organizations should deliver. This trend is being pushed forward with new practice paradigms and legislation supporting the need for this type of care delivery. Hybrid care delivery using both virtual and in person care will be a trend that continues as long as it is supported by payers.

Finally, a growing trend in the healthcare industry is the entry of successful, innovative non-healthcare organizations into the market. Companies like Amazon, Google, Apple, Walmart and Microsoft have seen a need in the healthcare industry and are becoming major contributors to healthcare. The healthcare industry needs disruptive innovators to come and help with the problems that are being faced by all of those who work in the field. Cost, quality, safety and patient/provider satisfaction are all things that will benefit from innovative ways to deliver care. Burnout is something that is being seen throughout the industry. Perhaps innovative ways to deliver care that allow provider satisfaction (decreased administrative burden) and great consumer experience will be the trend of the future. The industry needs disruptive innovation to prevent further exodus of providers and enhance patient satisfaction.

Other exciting trends are wearable devices, personalized care, hospital at home, and even gig employment to fill healthcare employee positions during times of shortage. In my opinion, the healthcare industry is in need of fresh, innovative ways of delivering and providing care. 

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