Healthcare industries are not showing any signs of a slowdown in the near future. However, as healthcare consumer expectations continue to increase, healthcare experts, management, and personnel may find that they need to reformulate policies and procedures in order to adapt to new changes within the industry and to accommodate consumer demands. Some of the trends in the healthcare industry include transparency, improved access to care, and the role of artificial intelligence (AI).

Value and Cost Transparency

Transparency is an open, honest stream of communication between an organization, management, personnel, and consumers. The main point of transparency is to build trust. Transparency began to be a rising trend in healthcare when consumers began leaving reviews and ratings on social media boards. The unexpected publicity, sometimes good, sometimes bad, was a big factor and can influence the reputation of an organization. Suddenly, consumer’s voices could be heard to a larger number of people. 

According to Xtelligent Healthcare Media, transparency is an important quality for any organization and can be delivered in many ways. For example, customer service representatives can respond to inquiries on social media while being careful not to divulge sensitive information. If consumers ask for cost information, inform them of any related fees they might not be aware of. If there is one thing that breaks the trust between an organization and a consumer is the appearance of hidden fees on their statement.

Increased Access to Care

According to Carenet, modern healthcare consumers have become used to interactive experiences with services in other areas of their lives free from the constraints of time or location, and are beginning to expect the same from their healthcare experience. Many consumers expect health care to be available at all times for their convenience. 

With much of the world’s data going digital, consumers naturally expect health care information to also be widely available. However, increased access to care is not just about convenience, it is about improving people’s access to health care information in an interactive way. A well-informed consumer can make better, healthier choices for their wellbeing and their finances.

Increased Use of Artificial Intelligence

According to Seismic, as more healthcare information goes digital, the use of artificial intelligence is expected to increase. It is almost impossible for a human being to prowl through all the healthcare data available on their own without the help of an AI. AI is considered to be the most disruptive technology expected to impact healthcare in the next few years. Current AI technology is able to perform simple diagnostic functions. AI can monitor your heart rhythm, detect any abnormalities, and make recommendations of the result. AI will also be able to accept your preferences, lifestyle, and goals into its assessment and return customized health recommendations and advice for fitness and nutritional improvements. 

Both of the above functions are already available for consumer use. AI is also capable of performing roles of a larger scale such as stepping in as a virtual nurse, managing a patient’s medication, and putting together a prescription based on a patient’s symptoms, medical history, and current medication intake.

Trends can help set performance bars between an organization and a consumer. Of course, some trends fade in their own time. Others such as transparency increased access to care, and the increased role of AI have been looming along the horizon for a long time and are expected to make their presence even more noticeable in the coming years.