The Health Industry Is Changing Fast. Here’s How to Keep Pace

Healthcare industry changes are usually made at the legislative level. However, once they have been enacted, these changes have an immediate impact on facility operations as well as the use of resources. Legislation has had a significant impact on how patients and administrators use resources like Medicare and Medicaid. The technology has also had an impact on the way that healthcare administrators manage resources and manage medical centers.

Predicted and historical changes in healthcare facilities

Over the past century, cultural shifts, changes in cost of care and policy adjustments have all contributed to a shift towards more patient-empowered care. The shift to patient-centered healthcare has been made possible by technological advances. As new electronic healthcare technologies such as 3D printing and wearable biometric devices and GPS tracking are developed and tested, this trend will continue. Although individual facilities might have restrictions on how and when new technologies can be introduced, cutting-edge technology will likely play an increasing role in the healthcare system in the future.

The use of hospital services will increase significantly between 2017-2025 as a result of legislative and demographic changes. This is due to the anticipated rise in Medicare beneficiaries over the next decade. Hospital care costs are expected to increase from 0.9 percent up to 2.4 percent of budget by 2025. This highlights the importance of having educated healthcare professionals and good business practices.

Medicare and Medicaid

Original 1965 legislation that established Medicare and Medicaid had two parts: Part A (Hospital Insurance), and Part B (Medical Insurance). To expand eligibility, Congress has made Medicare changes since then. In 1972, Medicare was extended to include the elderly, disabled and people over 65. Medicare today offers more benefits, such as unlimited home health visits and high quality standards for Medicare-approved nursing facilities. Medicaid coverage has been extended to include a wider range of people than was originally intended. This includes coverage for low income families, pregnant women, long-term care patients, and people with disabilities.

Because individual states can tailor Medicaid programs to meet the needs of their citizens, there are wide variations in Medicaid programs throughout the country. The Affordable Care Act created the Health Insurance Marketplace in 2010. This has had a direct effect on Medicaid services. To determine eligibility for Medicaid, potential consumers can now access the Marketplace website.

Future of Medicare and Medicaid

The baby boomer generation is approaching retirement and thus becoming eligible for Medicare. This will mean that healthcare spending by the federal, state, or local governments will increase. If the government continues to subside Marketplace premiums for low-income people, increased government healthcare spending will have a significant impact on the U.S. healthcare system. While Medicaid spending growth slowed in 2016 because of lower enrollment, it is expected that spending will increase at an average rate 7.1 percent annually in 2018 and 2019, due to the aging Baby Boomer generation.

A shift in healthcare providers

The people who provide healthcare are changing along with technological and policy changes. The healthcare system is dependent on providers. Any changes in their education, satisfaction, or demographics will likely impact how patients receive care.

Future healthcare professionals are more likely than ever to study business. A comprehensive analysis of Harvard Business School’s doctor graduates shows a significant increase in the number of doctors who have completed M.B.A. programs in the past decade. This may lead to more healthcare administrators and private practice.


The demographics of the medical field have changed over the past few years. In certain specialties such as pediatrics, obstetrics, and gynecology, the majority of healthcare providers are women. Women make up nearly one third of all physicians who are currently practicing. An analysis by the Association of American Medical Colleges, (AAMC), shows that women make up 46 percent of all doctors in training and almost half of all medical students. These statistics suggest that more women will enter the medical field in the future. According to data from AAMC, African-American women are less likely to be doctors than their male counterparts. Although only 4 percent of physicians in America are African-Americans, 55% of African-American doctors are female.

This shift to include more women in healthcare is a positive sign of diversity and promotes overall population diversity.


One way to assess the competence of healthcare providers is by looking at their malpractice lawsuits. Since 2004, the number of malpractice cases in the United States has been steadily declining. It is possible that the declining number of malpractice lawsuits may be a sign that providers and patients will continue to improve their competence.


One area where we need to improve is job satisfaction. Medscape’s 2015 Physician compensation Report found that 64% of doctors would choose medicine if it was possible to do so again. Only 46% would choose the same specialty. Based on the results of the most recent Survey of Registered Nurses by AMN Healthcare, nurses report greater overall career satisfaction than doctors. Nine out of ten nurses who took part in the survey stated that they are satisfied with their current career. One in three nurses are unhappy with their current job. Although it is hard to predict whether job satisfaction will rise in the future, technological advances that streamline healthcare offer hope for those who are frustrated by the complex nature of their jobs.

Patients’ changing needs

Healthcare demands change for many reasons, including patient needs. Each year, new treatments and cures are discovered to manage common diseases. Every such advancement has an impact on the whole healthcare system, as well as patients. Our healthcare system must be able to deal with more illnesses. The healthcare needs of patients will change as the population gets older and relies more on resources like Medicare and Medicaid. Technology advances are expected to lead to greater patient empowerment.

Illness Trends

Bubonic plague is an example of a disease which can dramatically change healthcare systems by rapidly shifting resources to manage an epidemic. The Black Death, which spread quickly throughout Europe in the Middle Ages, was responsible for approximately 75 million deaths. It is not surprising that bubonic plague continues to be a problem today. According to Center for Disease Control data in 2015, there were 11 cases of bubonic plague and three deaths in the United States.

While the bubonic plague is no longer a threat, there are still other diseases and conditions that could be of concern. These seven conditions are increasing in prevalence and will have an immediate impact on healthcare.

  1. Sexually Transmitted Diseases: The rates of gonorrhea and chlamydia have increased and syphilis rates have risen by 15.1 percent between 2013 and 2014.
  2. Obesity. The issue of obesity continues to be a problem in the United States with 78.6 millions adults and 12.7million children affected. In the last five years, obesity rates have risen by 17 percent.
  3. Autism : 1 in every 100,000 are diagnosed with autism. The number of people diagnosed with autism continues to increase each year. These recent increases could be due to doctors becoming more aware of the symptoms and signs of autism.
  4. E. E.coli: The number of E.coli cases has increased by 472 per cent in the past 10 years. Food contamination is a major cause of many E.coli cases.
  5. Liver cancer: The incidence of liver cancer has risen by 47 percent over a 10-year period.
  6. Kidney cancer: Healthcare professionals have treated 18.6 per cent more cases of kidney disease in the last 10 years than they did in previous years.
  7. Whooping Chest: There has been a 146 percent increase in whooping cough over the past ten years. This could be partly due to parents opting not for whooping cough vaccines.

These conditions have been identified by the healthcare industry, and they are now ready to deal with any additional increases in supplies and resources. But, there is always a risk. A similar virus to Ebola could spread throughout the country and have severe consequences for patient care and facilities.

Population Shift

The current baby boomer generation of 76 million born between 1946-1964 will reach retirement age. Federal spending on Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security will rise by 5.9% annually in 2018 and 2019.

Technology advances

The future of healthcare technology is focused on patient empowerment. Wearable biometric devices provide information on patients’ health, and telemedicine apps make it possible for patients to access healthcare wherever they are. Patients will have more control over their healthcare thanks to new technologies that focus on monitoring, research and availability of healthcare.


The healthcare industry continues to evolve, from policy to patients to everything in between. Healthcare’s future direction will be affected by technological advances, aging populations, and health trends. It is important to be aware of changes in society in order to understand where healthcare will go. Consider dedicating some time every day to reading industry literature. We have 25 books that are recommended for healthcare professionals.

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