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Top 10 healthcare issues to watch in 2015

Consumerism, generation gaps, digital changeover among challenges the industry must face.

Henry Powderly, Editor-in-Chief

US clinicians were asked how comfortable they are using patient data streamed from mobile health apps and devices.US clinicians were asked how comfortable they are using patient data streamed from mobile health apps and devices.

Consumerism in healthcare is changing the industry, as patients are paying far closer attention to the costs of medical care than in the past. It’s this change that will likely shape the top 10 issues faced by healthcare providers in 2015, a new report by PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Health Research Institute released on Thursday claims.

For example, the PwC survey found many patients are investing in personal medical equipment as a do-it-yourself mentality is taking root. At the same time, the survey found a vast majority of people are willing to accept services from nurses or physician assistants.

Below is PwC’s complete list of the top 10 health industry issues for 2015. Look for more in-depth analysis on each point in the coming weeks on Healthcare Finance. And if you are a health industry insider with some perspective on these trends, we’d love to hear from you. E-mail henry.powderly@himssmedia.com.

Top 10 Health Industry Issues of 2015

1. Do-it-yourself healthcare

U.S. physicians and consumers are ready to embrace a dramatic expansion of the high-tech, personal medical kit. Wearable tech, smartphone-linked devices and mobile apps will become increasingly valuable in care delivery.

2. Making the leap from mobile app to medical device

A proliferation of approved and portable medical devices in patients’ homes, and on their phones, makes diagnosis and treatment more convenient, redoubling the need for strong information security systems.

3. Balancing privacy and convenience

Privacy will lose ground to convenience in 2015 as patients adopt digital tools and services that gather and analyze health information.

4. High-cost patients spark cost-saving innovations

The soaring cost of care for Medicare and Medicaid “dual eligibles,” aging boomers and patients with co-morbidities will foster creative care delivery and management systems.

5. Putting a price on positive outcomes

With high-priced new products and specialty drugs slated to hit the market in 2015, increasing demand for new evidence and definitions of positive health outcomes are expected.

6. Open everything to everyone

New transparency initiatives targeting clinical trial data, real-world patient outcomes and financial relationships between physicians and pharmaceutical companies will improve patient care and open new opportunities.

7. Getting to know the newly insured

2015 will be a revelatory year for the U.S. health sector as a portrait of the newly-insured emerges, fostering better care management programs and shifting marketing strategies.

8. Physician extenders see an expanded role in patient care

Physician “extenders” are becoming the first line of care for many patients, as doctors delegate tasks, monitor patients digitally and enter into risk-based payment models.

9. Redefining health and well-being for the millennial generation

As the economy rebounds and baby boomers retire, employers and insurers look for fresh ways to engage, retain and attract the next generation of health consumers.

10. Partner to win

In 2015, joint ventures, open collaboration platforms and non-traditional partnerships will push healthcare companies out of the comfort zone toward new competitive strategies.

[COMPARE: Top 10 healthcare issues of 2014]

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