As the world enters the third year of the pandemic, Rod Hochman, MD, President and CEO of Providence, released his annual list of health care predictions today.
“Even if the virus reaches endemic levels this year, COVID-19 leaves a shortage of health care workers in its wake,” Dr Hochman said.
“Supporting the nation’s caregivers will be the No. 1 health care priority. After two painful years on the front lines, supporting the mental health and well-being of healthcare professionals and rebuilding the workforce will be an absolute imperative,” he said. ,
Two years ago, Providence admitted the first known US patient with COVID-19 and stood by caregivers during the pandemic. Providence has recently caught some of the steps it has taken to support the wellbeing of caregivers health progress Article.
In addition to the workforce crisis, health systems will have to balance other major challenges in the year ahead. What can you expect from health care in 2022? Here are Dr. Hochman’s top 10 predictions:
1. Caregiver of the Year: Fixing and rebuilding a deteriorating healthcare workforce will be a major national imperative.
Health workers were in short supply before the pandemic. But the stress and, frankly, the trauma of serving in the frontline for a long period, have led to people fleeing the profession. The situation is a national emergency that could lead to program closures and reduced access to care. In 2022, expect more health systems to pursue innovative staffing models, partnerships, technological solutions and training opportunities as well as resources to help caregivers cope, heal and build resilience.
2. Following January’s record-breaking surge in COVID-19 hospitals, the next big challenge will be to meet the stagnant demand due to deferred care.
This surge will continue throughout January as Omicron ravages communities, pushing many health systems to crisis levels. But if South Africa is any indicator, US cases could drop significantly in February. While this is a welcome forecast, expect little rest for the weary. The country’s healthcare providers will need to pivot quickly to respond to non-emergency care, which had to be postponed due to COVID-related shutdowns and cancellations.
3. The health system will take bold action on climate change, to reduce the growing health inequalities caused by pollution and extreme weather.
From poor air quality to heat waves and hurricanes, climate change adversely affects the health of those who are poor and vulnerable. Recent extreme weather events – and the havoc they wreak, especially on underserved communities – are a constant reminder that health equity and the health of the planet are inextricably linked. With health systems contributing 8 percent of all greenhouse gases, expect them to be serious about reducing — even reversing — carbon emissions from their facilities.
4. As the mental health crisis escalates, 2022 will be a race to meet the tremendous need to increase mental health resources.
One of the most dire repercussions of the pandemic is that more Americans than ever before are personally grappling with mental health issues. While the stigma about mental health conditions is beginning to fade, the challenge for 2022 will be to address the need to quickly ramp up access to services. Digital solutions – such as computerized cognitive behavioral therapy and telebehavioral health – will be key to increasing access to these critical services.
5. The healthcare data revolution continues to build momentum, a key to preparedness for the next global transition.
The rapid development of vaccines and therapeutics is one of the major medical achievements of the pandemic era, and this would not have been possible without the ability to share data quickly. Keeping up with Truvata’s formation last year, the health system will continue to cooperate in 2022. Together, they will work to share information on a secure, anonymized data platform, which will make it possible to study the new virus even more quickly, improving preparedness for when the next pandemic strikes.
6. Big Tech and other new entrants will continue their quest to disrupt healthcare, turning the heat on traditional providers to innovate more quickly.
The dismantling of Google Health last year and the closure of Heaven Health, founded by Amazon, are the latest examples of big tech trying and failing to disrupt the nearly $4 trillion healthcare sector. But don’t expect that to deter him and other new entrants from trying more. Traditional providers will respond by disrupting themselves with a new distributed model of care, a seamless hybrid of personal, home and virtual experiences.
7. Health systems will enhance cyber security as ransomware attacks on providers remain an imminent threat.
Ransomware is a huge security threat to every industry, but even more so to health systems, given the central nature of medical records and software in the delivery of secure patient care. In 2021, hospitals were a major target for cybercriminals, and this trend is expected to continue into the new year. Health Systems will prioritize investments in cyber security to thwart potential attacks and ensure the safety and security of critical IT systems.
8. A breakthrough in precision medicine will make cancer less of an invisible threat.
Advances in precision medicine continue to change how we think about cancer. With new capabilities in early detection, it is possible to diagnose cancer even before symptoms appear. Providence, for example, was the first healthcare system in the country to offer GRAIL’s gallery test, which can detect up to 50 cancers with a single blood draw. With tools like these, cancer will no longer be an invisible threat. Patients and providers will know what they are dealing with early, giving them the opportunity to be a participant in care plans for treatment, even curing the disease.
9. With rising inflation, the cost of care for patients will rise faster for providers than reimbursement from insurers.
Inflation is affecting healthcare providers like it is in every other sector of the economy. Global supply chain disruptions and labor shortages are fueling higher costs for everything from medicines and medical supplies to healthcare workers. Yet what insurance companies pay to providers is not keeping pace. The result: record-breaking profits for the country’s commercial insurance companies. Meanwhile, nonprofit health systems that once competed with each other will find new ways to collaborate to better serve their communities.
10. Making it easier for consumers to shop for health services will be a major focus for health systems.
Patients have a right to know what health care costs. Towards this end, health systems will provide more easy-to-use tools to give patients access to the information they want most: what their out-of-pocket costs will be. Through price estimator tools and other resources, patients will have a clear idea of what to expect and what information they need in order to compare prices and shop for care.