Nine Predictions About Healthcare’s Future

There was no shortage of predictions about healthcare’s future at the Health Industry Council’s recent Southwest Transactions conference in Dallas.

Among them:

  1. Mobile health and telehealth could emerge as leading solutions for anticipated primary-care provider shortages (Jason Hwang, co-founder of Innosight Institute and co-author of The Innovator’s Prescription: A Disruptive Solution for Health Care).
  2. Only about half of a provider’s future revenue under delivery reform will come from “population health,” defined as public insurance programs, small employers and health-exchange customers. The remainder will come from “retail health,” driven by price sensitivity because of high deductibles, demand for e-visits and people with chronic conditions seeking value based on price and outcomes. (Michael Slubowski, president and chief executive officer of Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth Health System in Denver).
  3. Methods of valuing companies will not change because of healthcare delivery reform (Greg Koonsman, senior partner at VMG Health in Dallas).
  4. Every presidential administration talks about getting tough on healthcare waste, fraud and abuse. However, administrations will show restraint on this because turning providers into felons creates an unhealthy political landscape (Cindi Berry, shareholder, Polsinelli in Washington, D.C.).
  5. Accountable care will increase IT spending by 43 percent by 2014 (Christopher Kersey, managing member of Camden Partners in Baltimore).
  6. Provider consolidation eventually will lead to 60-100 U.S. megasystems. For physicians, it will mean primarily an employed model. (Steve McHale, chief executive officer of Explorys in Cleveland).
  7. Future primary care will dictate more of a mid-level provider model, necessitated by the shortage of physicians. Urgent clinics and retail clinics will deliver more chronic disease management, health promotion and acute. The increase in closed provider networks will drive more business to those more consumer-centric clinics (Don Dillahunty, president and CEO of PrimaCare in Dallas).
  8. There has been consumer-spending growth for the past 13 quarters.  However, that the growth trend in national health expenditures had been trickling lower, mostly along with nominal gross domestic product (GDP). However, faster nominal GDP growth would likely benefit overall healthcare spending (Robert Podorefsky, a managing director with GE Capital Markets in Boston).
  9. There is concern among Affordable Care Act supporters that the law’s implementation timetable is too aggressive. The Obama administration will be flexible in supplying states with the necessary resources to successfully expand Medicaid and run exchanges (Berry).

Steve Jacob is editor of D Healthcare Daily and author of the book Health Care in 2020: Where Uncertain Reform, Bad Habits, Too Few Doctors and Skyrocketing Costs Are Taking Us. He can be reached at steve.jacob@dmagazine.com.

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