8 Healthcare Industry Trends to Monitor in 2024

March 20, 2024

Hospitals & Healthcare

Key Healthcare Trends in 2024

Keeping up with ever-evolving healthcare industry trends can pose a significant challenge for healthcare professionals worldwide. 

Physicians, hospital administrators, nurse practitioners, healthcare educators, pharmacists and hospital chief operating officers find themselves at a pivotal juncture. 

They’re navigating the transition from delivering high-quality healthcare and enhancing patient experiences to grappling with emerging challenges.

Key Statistics Of Healthcare Industry:

  • The global healthcare market is expected to rise at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.4 per cent from $8,348,44 in 2023 to $8,963.64, as reported by Research and Markets.
  • A report by Statista mentions that global digital health is expected to exceed 650 billion dollars by 2025.

Top 8 Healthcare Trends For the Year 2024

From physician shortage challenges to the advent of modern technologies like software-as-a-service (SaaS)-based interactive digital mapping and location positioning technology, below are top 8 trends of the healthcare industry that you need to know.

1. Physician Shortage Challenge

One of the most noticed healthcare industry trends in 2024 is the shortage of healthcare workers, specifically physicians. This has been an ongoing concern that significantly impacts the results of healthcare industry performance as a whole. 

With the rapid recruitment of healthcare professionals, retirements and fixed clinical hours is the major challenge the healthcare industry is facing. Such situations directly affect patient care, especially in suburbs and during pandemic seasons.

Furthermore, as per projections, there will be a major deficit of primary healthcare physicians and specialist physicians by 2034. Therefore, a strategic workforce management planning along with innovative solutions can help healthcare industry professionals address this challenge.

For example: Sarah, a senior citizen, is finding it difficult to get through a primary care physician in the area she resides. Despite the increasing number of physician workforce, many are considering specialized fields, increasing the gap in primary care management. Sarah also experiences longer wait times for a doctor’s visit due to the shortage, highlighting the ongoing challenge of getting easy access to healthcare, especially for elders like her.

2. Healthcare Payer Dominance

Healthcare payers that include insurance companies and government programs offered by the Centres for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) have a major hold on healthcare reimbursement operations.

Today, with a rapid adoption of value-based care (VBC) models across many facilities, healthcare providers often face long wait times for reimbursement transitions, resulting in financial strain and patient care disruptions. It badly impacts healthcare facilities that are small and growing. 

Healthcare providers are often stuck between patient care reimbursement complexities and bureaucratic hurdles. Thus, a strong collaboration between major stakeholders of the healthcare industry to ensure timely, fair and sustainable reimbursements can help address this healthcare industry trend of 2024.

For example: Janet, a hospital administrator, is already struggling with staying in line with patient care reimbursements policies. However, denials are leading to extended wait-times for receiving payments which in turn directly impacts the hospital’s strategic decision-making. For instance, she is unable to think of investing in new healthcare technologies that could lead to improving the quality of patient care, especially in remote locations. Janet continues to grapple with navigating complex reimbursement systems while also striving to maintain the hospital’s financial stability.

3. Technology’s Role

In this healthcare industry trend, notable technology advancements including, software-as-a-service solutions, artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual care programs are surely helping hospitals overcome operation management challenges over time. However, none of them can completely mitigate physicians availability or address the healthcare reimbursement disparities. 

While technology is helping hospitals improve operational efficiency by offering solutions to cater high-quality patient care and visit experience, the shortage of certified physicians is still an obstacle. 

To overcome this obstacle, modern healthcare technology can help hospitals implement workforce development to ensure timely patient visits, especially in remote areas. 

For example: Emily, a nurse practitioner, has recently adopted telemedicine technology to cater to patients in remote areas. With the modern healthcare technology, Emily can ensure consulting and monitoring patient health remotely is filling the gaps in patient healthcare. 

Moreover, Emily acknowledges that technology by itself is not capable of permanently sorting out the ongoing healthcare trend in shortage of physicians and will need a multifaceted approach. 

4- Value-Based Care Transition

In this healthcare trend, the rapid transition by healthcare providers from fee-for-service (FFS) to VBC is a major shift in the healthcare industry, all in an effort to enhance patient outcomes at reduced costs. 

The VBC program initiated by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services rewards healthcare providers with incentive payments to revolutionize how healthcare is provided and paid for.

No doubt, VBC programs are revolutionizing patient care quality and optimizing overall healthcare costs. Challenges of overuse of service and underpayment for patient care still exist. 

Hence, a perfect balance between healthcare and costs will require constant monitoring and optimization of VBC strategies to solely focus on increasing the quality of care at good rates. 

For example: James, a healthcare administrator, focuses on VBC initiatives for the clinic he is employed at. James’ focus is to reduce unnecessary and repetitive patient treatments while improving outcomes. However, he acknowledges the challenge to ensure the right balance between care and costs which directly impacts the overall operations and revenue for the clinic. He further adds the advent of healthcare payment models is helping catch up with this concerning healthcare industry trend. 

In addition, interactive digital mapping, and location positioning technology can help hospitals enhance their patient and visitor experience while improving internal communication and contractor management capabilities too. 

5. Mental Health Crisis

Amidst the healthcare trends of 2024, one pressing issue stands out: the escalating crisis in mental and behavioural health. This healthcare trend calls for an immediate intervention by major healthcare stakeholders to ensure a helping strategy in place. 

This is one of the major healthcare industry trends that cause concern for the healthcare industry, particularly during and post COVID-19 pandemic season. 

Despite growing demand for mental health services, shortages of mental health professionals exacerbate disparities in access to care and treatment outcomes. 

With the rising demand for mental and behavioural health assistance, there are still disparities in the access to care due to shortage of mental health care professionals. 

For example: Emily lost her job during the recent pandemic season which led her to anxiety and depression. She looked up for a nearby therapist, however, no sign of therapist availability anywhere around her. Emily then approached a telehealth service who provided her with support she needed to cope up with her ongoing symptoms. 

This clearly indicates the expansion of telehealth services and other integrated healthcare models that prioritize workforce availability, early intervention and precautions. 

6. Focus on Preventive Health

Post the recent pandemic season there has been a lot of emphasis on preventive healthcare, also known as prophylaxis, to ensure proactive measures all in an effort to reduce costs and improve healthcare outcomes.

Despite the many benefits of this healthcare industry trend, it is not yet widely accepted and needs public attention through preventive health awareness campaigns and community-based promotions that encourage and offer access to regular screenings and early detection of life-threatening diseases.

For example: Maria, a health educator, often promotes this healthcare trend, however she admits struggling to attract attention to enroll for regular check-ups. She further emphasizes how preventive measures can help the healthcare system ensure utmost VBC and optimize spending behind patient care.

7. Diabetes and Obesity Management

Another major healthcare industry trend is the concern of managing diabetes and obesity symptoms worldwide.

Over half the population worldwide will be living with obesity by 2035 and if the numbers increase, more than 1.3 billion individuals from across the globe will be affected with diabetes by 2050, with type 2 diabetes to account for maximum cases, as per National Library of Medicine.

To overcome this, a multidisciplinary approach is required that can include dietary counseling, wellness programs and medication management. This will automatically improve patient health outcomes while reducing healthcare costs.

However, concerns rise about the costs involved in exploring emerging therapies as well as pharmaceutical interventions. Therefore, having a winning VBC strategy and evidence-based practices can help fight this deadly healthcare industry trend in 2024 and beyond. 

For example: John, notices an incline demand for GLP-1 agonist drugs at his pharmacy. He emphasized the potential of the medications to enhance long-term health outcomes for diabetic and obese patients. However, John recognized the need for an evidence-based strategy among healthcare payers and providers to optimize treatment approaches and address these life-threatening health issues.   

8. Financial Challenges for Hospitals

With the increasing labour and supply cost, alongside with the incling numbers of patient acuity, is a rising concern for hospitals leading to financial strain. Despite the growing hospital visits, the long-term financial outlook remains at risk.

This healthcare industry trend requires a strategic plan for cost containment and revenue diversification all in effort to optimize operational effectiveness and patient care quality.

For example: Laura performs an internal audit to address budget constraints. She notices the hospital profits are good for 2023, however, anticipates it’s long-term financial stability due to the rising labour and supply cost. Laura further panics that the hospital’s rural branches are at risk of closure, highlighting the importance of having a strategic plan for ensuring continued healthcare access to care for underserved, remote communities.

Wrapping Up

To sum up, the healthcare industry trends in 2024 are a blend of ongoing challenges that require proactive approaches and collaborative measures to ensure high-quality care for all patients and optimize healthcare costs.

From addressing healthcare workforce shortages and healthcare payer dominance to software-as-a-service technology and promoting preventive health programs, major healthcare stakeholders are forced to navigate through the complex healthcare landscape all in an effort to mold the future of healthcare service delivery, patient outcomes and patient experience. 

Therefore, with an evidence-based and patient-centered care approach, the healthcare industry can overcome the challenges and result in a more sustainable and resilient healthcare system for the future generations to come.
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Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What is the meaning of trend in healthcare?

Ans. Trend usually refers to the details about the innovations, ongoing challenges and usage of modern technologies in healthcare settings.

Q2. What are the three most essential healthcare trends in 2024?

Ans. Shortage of the primary healthcare workforce, healthcare payer dominance, and technology’s role are the three most important healthcare trends to watch in 2024.

Q3. What is the future of healthcare?

Ans. The advancement of modern technology and the adoption of VBC programs are offering capabilities to enhance healthcare services and improve patient outcomes, leading to steady growth for the healthcare sector.

Q4. How is SaaS-based technology helping healthcare?

Ans. SaaS-based technology can easily slip into an existing practice management system offering centralized solutions for multiple administration needs. This way, healthcare providers and administrators can strategically optimize costs as well as improve patient outcomes.

Q5. What is the future of technology in healthcare?

Ans. Healthcare technology like indoor positioning and navigation solutions is making it easy for hospitals to ensure utmost patient care, considering physician’s availability and patient experience on-site.

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