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5 Things That Will Change With Your Healthcare This Year

January 25, 2018

It's not always true that the more things change, the more they stay the same. As a new year arrives, many will be making positive changes. Healthcare will be doing the same, as it keeps pace with new technologies, heightened consumer expectations and specialized needs. As one major healthcare report notes, you, the consumer, are "informed, empowered and impatient."

Here's what you can expect to see in the new year as healthcare takes another step into the future.

1. Video Is the New Go-To

It seems we can't get enough of it, with estimates indicating we all watch one billion hours of YouTube video every day. That fact isn't lost on healthcare marketers. Becker's Hospital Review predicts more opportunities for your doctors to share health information without actually disseminating clinical advice. Chances are you'll be seeing more of your providers on screen very soon with helpful information you can review quickly.

2. Patient Portals Open Wider

Patient portals have been pervasive for almost 10 years now, enabling faster and more efficient communications with your doctors. In the future, many practices will upgrade their electronic medical record systems or EMRs — which often include patient portals — in particular to keep up with major changes in healthcare reimbursement, or the way doctors are paid. According to Medical Economics, you'll be able to check lab results, schedule office visits, get on appointment "wait lists," and even participate in video doctor visits, like the ones offered by LiveHealth Online.

3. Twice-as-Nice Employees

Being in the hospital can be difficult enough for the patient and family members, so the last thing you need is to deal with a difficult staff member. As in any business, not all hospital employees are pleasant 100 percent of the time, something hospital management has heard loud and clear recently. The Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) Survey is sent to patients after a hospital stay to understand their experience. Management wants that survey, which looks like a report card, to show better grades. The 2018 Healthcare Marketing Trends Playbook says to be on the lookout for hospitals to hire more heads of culture to improve those staff-patient relations.

4. Putting More “Well” in Wellness

It used to be that we only saw our doctors when we were sick. Healthcare is all about more wellness and prevention now – to head off illness and find potential problems early on whenever possible. Look for offerings from your providers (and employers and benefit plans) to participate in online or in-person seminars and classes on exercise, yoga and meditation, nutrition, chronic condition management, and more.

5. What to Expect from Tech

The coming year will see more remote monitoring to help patients manage chronic diseases, especially if they are living in rural or underserved communities and don't have easy access to healthcare the way that urban residents do. As Medical Product Outsourcing reports, this technology that includes two-way cameras, video monitors, microphones, and smart alarms can even support an electronic intensive care unit (e-ICU) in a rural location.

Rural or underserved communities may not be staffed with high numbers of personnel that a larger healthcare facility employs. Technical equipment allows healthcare professionals in the more remote location to digitally transmit data about their patients to peers or colleagues off-site.

Remote monitoring also allows patients to recover more comfortably in their homes, as wearable devices communicate vital statistics to their providers in hospitals or other locations. This means patients save time driving to and from appointments, which may be far away and require a significant time commitment. They also enjoy the comforts of their own homes, usually preferable to receiving treatment somewhere else, especially if it's for a long period of time.