5 Healthcare Trends in 2015

Tis the season for trend articles!  PadillaCRT looked at trend predictions for the past few years and looked ahead. We found two trends that deserve more momentum in 2015, two that are “coming soon to a health care organization near you” and one trend that we hope gets a little more air in 2015.


The Good: we’re hoping 2015 is the year for these two trends.

patient-engagement-team 21. Patient engagement. This has eluded healthcare organizations longer than the “National Treasure” eluded the Gates family.  (According to the movie trailer that was at least three generations.) When patients are effectively engaged, patient outcomes improve and cost drivers are positively affected.

A mentor once told me, “Healthcare is personal and healthcare is local,” and she was right.  What is more personal than the health of you or a loved one? For patient engagement to be successful it needs to be led by patients and driven locally.  The Care Copilot Institute, a new effort from AllinaHealth and the Robina Foundation is such an effort.  All too often healthcare organizations are using a megaphone to engage patients. We need to put the megaphone down and start listening.

patient cartoon2. Patient experience. The Triple Aim, essentially the ACA’s vision statement, is a framework for optimizing health system performance.  A three-legged stool consisting of:  health of a population, per capita cost and patient experience.  Improving patient experience can also improve a hospital’s HCAHPS scores, which is now being tied to reimbursement.

A large component of “patient experience” and the HCAHPS is a patient’s own perception of the care he/she received.  Perception – a powerful word in branding. To help improve the patient’s perception, healthcare organizations could measure the alignment between their employees’ personal brands (vision, mission, purpose) and their organization’s brand.

When there is alignment, care providers become “high-performing caregivers” and everyone wins: the patient experience improves and so do HCAHPS scores.


The Bad: two trends that are on course to become healthcare facts by the end of 2015.o-HEALTH-CARE-COSTS-facebook

3. Healthcare costs. Sadly, they will continue to rise.  In an article recently published by Forbes, costs may rise by as much as 60%. Costs can be positively affected by changes in behavior across the system: insurance plan selection, the personal healthcare movement, and realizing the role our environment plays in our health – a bonus trend for the readers – called “healthy real estate.”

security4. Data security. Data analytics to map out the health of a population or the path of an epidemic will continue to grow in dominance, which means we’re more concerned (or should be) with data security and data breaches.  Retailers and credit cards are just the tip of the iceberg.  Healthcare organizations have our social security numbers and our credit card information.  Medical Identity Theft, when thieves use your insurance information or social security number to receive medical attention, is also on the rise.  Last year, medical identity thieves received more than $12.3 billion in medical services – ouch!


The Hopeful: More than a trend, we’re hoping for a healthcare transformation.

E0060225. Post-acute care. This is a loosely defined yet growing segment of the care delivery continuum.  Since 2005, annual Medicare spending on post-acute care has grown an average of 5.7% and accounted for 11% of Medicare spending in 2011. The segment includes everything from pre-acute-care surgery care to home-based care to long-term care to hospice, and everything in between.

As our population ages (AARP estimates 8,000 people will turn 65 each day for the next 15 years) the demand on post-acute care will also grow. Getting our collective arms wrapped around this segment – establishing definitions, metrics, seamless care transitions and reimbursement strategies – and did I mention, engaging this population? – would help positively affect health care cost drivers and improve outcomes.  A transformation we all need.

What trends do you see coming in 2015? Share your predictions in the comments!


Image credit: CareSync, Institute for Healthcare Improvement, Huffington Post, American Medical Software and MDICS.

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