You may remember the 2017 healthcare trends report that we published at the end of last year. Now, halfway through 2017, we thought we'd check ourselves and provide a quick update on each trend we predicted for this year. The following are those updates. Peruse the full piece to see the following along with our original predictions.
1. Healthcare on the Blockchain Moves from Theory to Practice
Status: Nailed it
The blockchain buzz continues to hum seven months into 2017. With countless conferences, Internet memes, and startups to boot, it's safe to say we're at the peak of the blockchain hype cycle. In the absence of many real world blockchain applications within healthcare last year, we predicted that would all change in 2017.
And. . .we hit the nail on the head. Lots of working demos have been unveiled this year. We've been busy on DokChain, our implementation of healthcare on blockchain, including our recent partnership with our recent partnership with Intel. There has been considerable activity elsewhere too. Forbes reported Hyperledger Foundation's recent projects, and Guardtime, a data-centric security company, and the Estonian eHealth Foundation have shown progress in their goal to secure health records. While we may not see healthcare on the blockchain at scale in production for a while, this year has shown amazing, promising progress and a massive surge in support for healthcare initiatives on the blockchain.
2. Demand Drives Adoption of Healthcare E-Commerce
Status: Looking good
We predicted that 2017 would be the year that consumer demand for healthcare e-commerce would finally push the industry toward making it a reality. With digital health services providers and users, like telehealth, on the rise, it may still be too early to tell if this year is the year we will see significant change; but progress is undoubtedly taking place.
With direct access to consumers, market disruptors like CVS and Walmart are becoming key players in healthcare delivery according to The Future of Consumer Engagement & Commerce. The healthcare industry is working hard to make possible the seamless healthcare experiences consumers are demanding. The question remains, aside from one off services, when will true adoption take place? It is clear that it's no longer a matter of if, but when, healthcare will catch up with the times. With more than half of this year gone, full e-commerce adoption will most likely slide into next year.
3. Telehealth Finally Goes Mainstream
Status: Nailed it
In our initial report, we forecast that adoption of telehealth services in 2017 would expand beyond a passionate base of early adopters and begin serving an early majority of users. Key indicators are pointing in the right direction.
For one, the Texas House of Representatives recently passed a bill that will allow telehealth companies to finally do business in the state. Texas had been a hold out and, assuming the bill is signed into law, will now provide telehealth companies with access to its nearly 28 million citizens. With that hurdle cleared, telehealth will have some positive momentum on its side.
The legislature from another populous state, New Jersey, also recently passed a telehealth bill that is awaiting the signature of its governor, Chris Christie. If passed, the new law will enable physicians to use telehealth to establish a doctor-patient relationship, and to assure the same standards of care as an in-person visit.
In another sign that telehealth is taking hold, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia announced that it will stop reimbursing emergency room visits that it regards as unnecessary and will instead advise members to use its telehealth service, or visit a nearby urgent care or retail health clinic. The move will put telehealth to the test to see if it can realize its promise to significantly reduce ER visits, reduce spending, and improve patient health outcomes.
4. The Trump Presidency Will Rock the Healthcare Boat
Status: Too soon to tell
Our prediction that the Affordable Care Act will see modifications rather than total repeal is on shakier ground that we would have thought possible six months ago. After stumbling with initial repeal efforts, the House of Representatives voted in early May to approve a revised healthcare bill that would repeal and replace major parts of the ACA. The House bill proposes significant changes, such as eliminating tax penalties for people who forgo health insurance, and rolling back Medicaid expansion.
The bill is now being reviewed by the Senate. Early indications, however, are that it does not have enough GOP support to pass as currently written. Four conservative senators have announced that they will oppose the bill unless alterations are made. The alternative plan, dubbed Trumpcare, is also widely disliked by the American public. A poll published by Quinnipiac University revealed that 56% of voters do not approve of the revised healthcare plan, while only 17% support it. Stay tuned. This issue is very much in play.
5. Adoption of Auto-Adjudication Will Accelerate
Status: Too soon to tell
Don't worry, we didn't forget about this one. At this point in the year, it's too soon to tell. Have an opinion? Tweet at us!
You may remember the 2017 healthcare trends report that we published at the end of last year. Now, halfway through the year, we thought we'd check ourselves and provide a quick update on each trend we predicted for this year. Here are those updates along with our original predictions.
Tags: Healthcare predictions