More people are insured, costs are higher, and technology is advancing more rapidly than ever before. As a result of this evolving landscape, medical professionals are looking for new ways to reach customers while patients are looking for better ways to manage their medical expenses and their health, and everyone’s wondering:
What changes to medicine and healthcare will 2016 bring?
Drug pricing is under pressure.
If you think prescription drug prices are too high, well, you’re probably right. Brand-name drug prices have increased much faster than the pace set by inflation every year for the last decade, and even generics are more expensive (Prices increased an average of nine percent in 2014). Add in the controversial practices of companies like Turing Pharmaceuticals, and there’s more pressure than ever on the market to lower the cost of prescription medication.
Only the passage of time will tell how and in what ways the American consumer can expect things to change, but it’s likely that pharmaceutical companies may try out an alternative financing model intended to spread out payments for expensive drugs. It’s also possible that we’ll see more outcomes-based reimbursement agreements struck in 2016; such agreements between pharmaceutical companies and insurers or health systems will tie reimbursement payments to health outcomes as opposed to volume, which may drive prices down.
The Fitbit and Apple Watch can expect medical-grade competition.
Everywhere you look, you’ll see someone sporting this step counter or that health tracker, but some experts contend that the potential for higher-tech, medical-grade wearables has only now begun to be realized. We’re talking devices to help the VA monitor patients with prosthetics, and those with the capacity to detect seizures in epilepsy patients; in fact, a Soreon Research report expects this sector of the wearables market to reach $41 billion by 2020.
The use and practice of telehealth technologies will continue to grow.
Because there’s an app for that. With a sharp rise in the use of telemedicine apps (32 percent of consumers had at least one health-related application on their mobile phones in 2015, up from 16 percent in 2013.) and other telehealth technologies, medical professionals are better equipped than ever before to provide exceptional care to patients everywhere.