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2022: Seven Predictions for Healthcare

With the final days of 2021 winding down, Fierce Healthcare has interviewed more than two dozen healthcare stakeholders to provides their 7 predictions for healthcare in 2022. These predictions are as follows:

  1. Providers will resume major tech initiatives
  2. Data and measures help ensure accountability
  3. Precision healthcare needs more attention
  4. Behavioral therapy should be rethinking its model
  5. The acceleration of home-based care
  6. Workforce shortages can be corrected
  7. Cost transparency will take center stage again
Medical Healthcare Research and Development Concept. Doctor in hospital lab with science health research icon show symbol of medical care technology innovation, medicine discovery and healthcare data.

A common theme throughout these predictions is the prominence of technology. Let's take a deeper dive into the predictions.

Automation

When examining the predictions, it is clear that automation will play key role. The article cites this specific example:

One example of a quickly implementable solution is the automated delivery of negative COVID-19 test results by email. “If you can automate those things with technology and alleviate the human factor, then you free up the human workforce to go and do more value-added things,” Banas said.

Health Insurance Concept - Doctor in hospital with health insurance related icon graphic interface showing healthcare people, money planning, risk management, medical treatment and coverage benefit.

Colin Banas, M.D., chief medical officer at DrFirst, notes that COVID-19 has limited the technology resources available, and has forced providers to focus on "lightweight" initiatives. However, the pandemic -- which forced a large portion operations to remote work environments -- has also brought to light the need for automation, particularly in revenue cycle.

Many providers have chosen to outsource the revenue cycle functions. In doing so, they have turned to technology vendors like OrboGraph to leverage AI and Machine Learning that automate functions like EOB processing, electronifying paper-based documents and turning them into data to accelerate interoperability. This leads us to the next topic...

The Importance of Clean-Data

The article notes that healthcare needs to be more "data-driven." From healthcare diagnosis to financial, it has become increasingly important to not only leverage data, but ensure that the data is clean -- recalling the old computer science phrase: garbage in, garbage out.

The reality is that to create data, much of it relies on humans. However, with the help of automation, this does not need to be the case. We are seeing countless examples where patient data is now being automated -- from checking in, patient health information, and billing.

Double,Exposure,Of,Healthcare,And,Medicine,Concept.,Doctor,Using,Modern

When we take a look at revenue cycle, we are seeing a shift from utilizing BPOs -- which relies heavily on humans manually entering data -- to technology vendors which produce cleaner data. Past reports note that as much as one in every four claims contains an error when manually processed -- which leads to a greater amount of denied claims. This is greatly reduced by leveraging technologies that are more accurate.

Meeting Patient's Demands

In addition to the shifts in technology, we are also seeing a shift in the way healthcare is delivered to keep up with the demands of the patients. This includes:

  • Healthcare delivery -- where the Fierce Healthcare predicts an acceleration of home-based care.
  • Increase in behavioral therapy -- as the demand has increased and social stigma has decreased due to the pandemic.
  • Increase in price transparency -- as both patient and new regulations are seeking more clarity on the charges for healthcare
A doctor is going over the patients records and charts with him.

As the calendar rolls over to the new year, there are clear trends in both technology and effectively meeting patient demands that will be top priorities for healthcare in 2022.

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