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High tech and high touch trends that will influence the healthcare of tomorrow

At this month’s U.S. News Healthcare of Tomorrow event, three main trends impacting healthcare providers and administrators were frequently mentioned: technology and analytics; population health and preventive medicine; and payment reform. 

Together, these trends can be encapsulated in the term “high tech and high touch.” The influx of technology and analytics into the healthcare system is making precise diagnoses possible and making it easier for clinicians to predict an adverse health outcome in their hospital. For example, it can be difficult to know if a patient who arrives in the emergency department with chest pain should be admitted to the hospital. Predictive analytics can evaluate whether the patient can be sent home safely based on their symptoms, previous patients’ outcomes, and evidence-based guidelines. Alternatively, value-based payment reform has incentivized healthcare organizations to focus on population health and prevention, leading to investments in high touch solutions like home healthcare or health coaches to coordinate a patient’s care.

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We have identified a few ways in which the three leading trends will influence the healthcare of tomorrow:   

High Tech: technology and analytics

  • Artificial intelligence, augmented reality, virtual reality, robotics process automation, machine learning, and blockchain are all technologies that are finding a variety of applications in healthcare. 
  • These technologies are being applied in innovative contexts, from the opioid crisis to predicting sepsis in a hospital setting, to precision medicine and cancer genomics. 

High Touch: prevention and population health

  • Healthcare organizations are becoming more integrated, allowing them to keep better track of their patients and focus on prevention. 
  • Consumer technologies like mobile applications can be used by patients and providers to keep in touch, book appointments, and track their symptoms.
  • We’ve also seen that combining evidence-based medicine from various care modalities will promote total patient care and prevention.

And payment reform incentivizes both initiatives

  • Public and private payers are pursuing value-based reimbursement through pay-for-performance initiatives like accountable care organizations (ACOs), bundled payments, and capitation. 
  • While fee-for-service remains a major part of most healthcare providers’ reimbursement, the drive toward value is changing how care is provided throughout the healthcare system.

Given the changing health policy landscape, the proliferation of technology and analytics tools, and the growing body of evidence that prevention can be both cost-effective and patient-centric, healthcare organizations continue to face many challenges. There is no doubt that the healthcare industry is in flux and leaders must keep pace with rapid industry change. What seems to be clear is that high tech and high touch initiatives drive value and deliver care.

Find out more about our work in healthcare.

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