6 Takeaways from the New Forecast of the Future of Healthcare

No one said getting out of a pandemic would be easy. And if the latest turnaround forecast from Vizient and its subsidiary Sg2 is any indication, healthcare leaders will need to plan carefully to take advantage of future opportunities to recover and grow.

Optimizing workforce retention, recruitment and development will be critical over the next decade as hospitals and health systems adapt to what is expected to be a changing landscape in patient volumes, sharper rates, increased lengths of stay and preferred places for providing care.

6 Relationship from change prediction

1 | Slow growth for patient volumes. . . with two main caveats.

Adult inpatient volumes are expected to recover from pre-pandemic numbers, but will grow only about 2% over the next decade. However, driven by an increase in chronic conditions, adult hospital days are projected to increase by 8% during that time, with a 17% increase expected in the number of inpatients requiring highly specialized care, the report notes. .

2 | Reevaluate your care delivery models.

The combination of increased hospital volume, patient complexity and length of stay may require hospitals and health systems to rethink service line prioritization, service delivery and investment in home care initiatives, says Maddie McDowell, MD, director senior and medical director of quality. and strategy for Sg2.

3 | Expect further innovations in virtual and remote care.

Providing more care in patients’ homes could ease the anticipated strain on hospital bed capacity, and the analysis suggests this will happen. The report predicts the following changes over the next 10 years:

  • 19% increase in home appraisals and management visits.
  • 13% increase in inn at home.
  • A 10% increase in physical and occupational therapy at home.

4 | Meet behavioral health patients where they are.

Demand for behavioral health services will continue to outstrip the supply of providers, Sg2 executives say. They expect adult care psychiatric services to grow by 6% over the next decade, with many patients choosing virtual care options. The demand for psychiatric services for adult patients will increase by about 5% over the next five years, while the need for pediatric inpatient services will increase by 11% over the same period. Healthcare leaders would do well to continue to focus on meeting patients where they are when they need care to avoid more complex and resource-intensive interventions downstream.

5 | Refine ambulatory surgery strategies.

Outpatient volumes are expected to return to pre-pandemic levels this year and then grow 16% over the next 10 years — 3 percentage points above the nation’s estimated population growth. An aging population, increased survival and an increase in chronic diseases will drive this growth, the report explains.

Look for surgical volumes to continue to shift across ambulatory care sites over the next decade. Operations performed in ambulatory surgery centers will increase by 25% and 18% in both hospital outpatient departments and physician offices, primarily due to increased pressure from payers, cost-saving measures, capacity-based in the hospital and resource constraints among other factors.

6 | ED pressures to relieve.

Emergency department visits are expected to decline 2% over the next decade, Vizient forecasts, and will remain significantly below 2019 volumes due to the shift of lower-acuity volumes to alternative sites of care, including triage virtual. Additionally, as pandemic-era protocols decline, infectious diseases, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and cystic fibrosis are expected to lead to a 3% increase in emergency department visits this year before declining 10% to the year 2032.

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