Top Five Trends in Healthcare for 2012

2012 is shaping up to be a pivotal year for healthcare innovation. Here are the top trends we see for this year:

Data Sharing Comfort Increases as Privacy Concerns Loom

According to PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Health Research Institute’s annual forecast of top healthcare trends, six out of ten people surveyed said they felt comfortable having personal health information shared among health organizations including hospitals, doctors, insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies, if it would help improve the coordination of care. However, if cost, quality and access were all held equal, those surveyed also said that clear privacy and security policies were the most important considerations in choosing one hospital over another.

Since late 2009, more than 400 large healthcare breaches, and more than 50,000 smaller breaches, have been reported to the federal government. Quest Diagnostics understands privacy concerns of physicians and their patients, and developed the Care360 Suite of Solutions to meet HIPAA privacy regulations so that physicians are able to store and share patient data securely.  Since your patient’s data is stored securely on Care360 servers and accessed via the web, you don’t have to worry about patient data stored on laptops or computers that can be accidentally lost or stolen.

New Care Models Become the New Norm

As healthcare leaders and practitioners continue to seek ways to provide better quality care at a lower cost, the systems designed to deliver this care will undergo changes to better meet the cost burden and the care expectation. In 2012, expect to see more emphasis on primary care physicians, because research indicates that when patient-physician relationships focus on primary care, people live longer, patients are more satisfied with their care and everyone pays less. There also will be more focus on improving post-acute care transitions this year, in order to help reduce hospital readmissions. The patient centered medical home, a healthcare setting that emphasizes coordination of care via resources such as electronic health records and primary care physicians, also will focus on improving patient outcomes by streamlining care.

Health-Focused Games

The entertainment industry is now developing games in order to help consumers get healthier. Many companies and insurers have developed health-related games where players collaborate or compete against one another to get fit, make better food choices or treat a chronic illness like diabetes. While there have not yet been any longitudinal studies to confirm the effectiveness of these health-focused games, this is another example of how innovation is continuing to alter the healthcare landscape.

Remote Patient Monitoring

Having a device at the ready to track patient data, recognize/record patterns and transmit that data to a physician means more complete, accurate information and less burden on the patient to self-report.  Patients have already shown their support for these devices:  In Deloitte’s 2011 U.S.  and Global Survey of Health Care Consumers, 61 percent of those surveyed said they would like self-monitoring devices to remotely send information to their doctors. In the future, you can expect to see remote monitoring play more of a role in managing and treating chronic diseases.

Apps That Empower Patients

The increasing demand for mobile health could generate $1.3 billion in revenues this year, according to a study by research2guidance, mobile researchers and consultants.  Forty percent of doctors believe mobile health technologies can reduce the number of visits to physician offices, in part because several apps now exist to help consumers make informed health-related decisions from the start. Whether it’s customized workout programs, individualized food plans or using a phone’s geo-location to find and rate local provider facilities, smartphones now enable patients to have a stronger role in their own care.

Quest Diagnostics app, called Gazelle, was designed for patients so they can receive their laboratory results, store providers names and contact information, set medication reminders and store vital health statistics. Gazelle is available for your Apple iPhone®, iPad®, iPod® iTouch, BlackBerry® or Andriod™ smartphone.

We are committed to staying current on healthcare trends and where appropriate, integrating these trends into our offerings in order to improve the coordination of care and reduce the healthcare spend.

We’d like your opinion as well.  What other healthcare trends do you think have had an impact on the industry in 2012? Will your practice be quick to adopt some of these trends? Which ones would best serve your needs and why? Send us your comments below.



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