Looking ahead to the new year, we can already see some significant health issues looming over the horizon. Based on last year’s emerging trends and changing preferences, here are four of the top issues that face health care going into 2015.
1. Self-Care on Digital and Mobile Devices
As healthcare apps, websites, and devices become more acceptable to both doctors and patients, there are greater risks involved for both parties. Patients run the risk of misdiagnosing themselves when using the apps alone, and if they’re using an app to communicate with a doctor, their private information is at risk of data theft for the sake of convenience.
2. Influx of Newly Insured Patients
Thanks to Obamacare, over 10 million people in the United States are newly insured, and that number will continue to grow in 2015. On top of that, a recent health survey showed that the millennial generation ranks health benefits as number two on their list of most important factors when making career choices, even above compensation which was ranked at number three. This means that young people will likely be contributing to the healthcare market in 2015 more than ever before.
This growing market for health care will change marketing strategies and inspire changes to better manage and deliver care. It will also increase the demand for new healthcare professionals, possibly even resulting in a shortage of doctors. The job market in the healthcare field is expanding rapidly, with over a million new jobs added since The Affordable Care Act first passed.
3. Experiments in Cost Control
One of the biggest issues in healthcare over the past several years has been out-of-control costs. The growth of costs in the healthcare market is slowing down lately, and we partially have Obamacare to thank. Because the government is now more responsible for covering the cost of healthcare for those insured, it has more incentive to pass legislation to further regulate healthcare costs.
Existing stipulations within Obamacare that encourage hospitals to take part in accountable care organizations and bundled payment pilots are experiments meant to incentivize lower-cost care. So far they have been met with questionable success, but, according to “The New Yorker,” it’s far better than doing nothing since there is no quick fix.
4. Growing Health Risks From a Variety of Sources
Many of the big news stories about health in 2015 will focus on increasing risks from all kinds of diseases and conditions. Some of the more pressing issues include bacteria strain’s growing resistance to antibiotics, the dangerous rate at which patients die from hospital errors and hospital-acquired infections, the lack of fresh produce available in excessively rural and urban areas (food deserts), stress-related conditions, and Alzheimer’s.
Rest assured, the healthcare industry is adapting to combat these issues as best it can. The rate of preventable death from hospital-acquired conditions decreased last year, research is in process for new anti-infection techniques, and new health care professionals are making pioneering contributions to the field. The year 2015 has a lot of promise for both those newly insured and those with chronic health conditions.
Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/codnewsroom/8639003804/sizes/m/ by COD Newsroom