From 2018 onwards, the approach to tackle issues within the healthcare industry has become more complex. Up until 2017, all health reform goals were repealed, but this has since changed. Experts at the PricewaterhouseCoopers’ (PwC) Health Research Institute foresee indecisiveness as well as possible risks that are coming for the healthcare industry in 2018. With regards to Donald Trump’s presidency and the Republican Party’s entry into the White House, there have already been many setbacks and delays on how to proceed regarding this matter. Given this unchartered territory, it is difficult to say how this will impact the healthcare industry in the long run. It is possible that new and innovative ways to tackle old problems will propel the industry toward improvement and reform, while the opposite scenario is just as probable.
Here are some of the issues that the new government is tackling and how. 1. It aims to increase the role of artificial intelligence. AI has been an important topic of discussion within the healthcare industry since 2017, especially with regards to how it will take care of some of the work currently done by physicians. Data shows that many health enterprises are already amalgamating AI in order to update and make their financial and tax reporting more efficient. Although more serious initiatives such as postulating the possible outcomes of a patient’s diagnosis will take more time, the US health service sector leader already predicts that investments will come as they are right now. 2. ACA or the Affordable Care Act is now in muddy waters. While it was not repealed in Congress, there is no clear pathway that reform for the act will take. PwC predicts that goals will now be met via what they termed “piecemeal regulatory and legislative actions.” These actions include increasing CMS waivers while decreasing spending through budgeting. It is now more important for enterprises to keep track of proposals that might put them at a financially disadvantageous position. 3. Fighting the opioid epidemic is one of the challenges faced by the new government. PwC is expectant of more collaborative measures such as those between rivaling pharmaceutical companies, which they believe will eventually be the saving grace of the crisis. There are also talks among them of introducing more therapeutic methods rather than filling out opioid prescriptions. 4. After the hurricane, Texas was seriously affected with flooding, displacement and property loss. Despite planning that did protect all facilities and its patients at the time of the flooding, there are long-term impacts on the healthcare system when disaster strikes. These include the loss of revenue when a patient or employee is displaced at such times. The suggestions by PwC are not cheap; more planning and financial resources dedicated to a state of emergency when the time arrives as well as establishing virtual care which will facilitate moving offices away from areas in danger. 5. The 2017 report by PwC did not correctly predict what would happen with regards to social health indicators, as they expected progress to be made in this field. However, a demand for collaborations between health enterprises and various communities has translated to action. Work is being done on a small scale with social and health workers as well as nutritionists and behavioral health experts. An example of this is the Toledo, Ohio’s ProMedica, which led to a significant drop in hospital readmissions and at least a 4% increase in primary care visits. It is expected that social health will be given more attention in the upcoming year.