Healthcare trends will continue to change into 2021 as we transition into the “new normal” and healthcare services adjust accordingly. On a bright note, it looks as if many of these changes will help to continue an increase in healthcare benefits, while at the same time reducing costs, and even improving the average healthcare available to people in more rural areas of the nation.
Continued Closures of Traditional Hospitals in 2021
The fastest growing segment of hospital closings are occurring in rural areas where healthcare alternatives are difficult to find. The continuing closures are not only affecting rural America though, and even larger cities are seeing a massive reduction in hospitals, and even reduced services in those healthcare facilities that remain open.
Look for an increase in rural hospital closures to continue throughout 2021 primarily because of a lack of patients and an inability to generate a sufficient level of profits. The economic costs alone make these hospital closures a disturbing trend, creating massive increases in local and rural unemployment rates, and greatly diminishing the number of jobs and the disposable discretionary income necessary to keep their rural economies going.
The continued closure of rural hospitals throughout the United States will also create something of a vacuum in terms of healthcare accessibility for rural Americans. There is an old adage about how “nature abhors a vacuum” and it holds true in terms of healthcare trends for 2021 as well. Further along in this article, we will look at healthcare trends for 2021 that will work to offset the massive number of hospital closures that are expected to continue, not only in rural America, but also in the big cities.
Big city hospitals will continue to close at alarming rates as well. This is in large part due to two primary economic factors above most other considerations. The first is the necessity of “top-heavy” administrations in big-city hospitals and other emergency care facilities. Administration, by its very nature, seeks to address areas where costs can be cut, though rarely through cuts in the administrative staff itself.
The second economic factor is a financial stress placed on emergency rooms and the need to treat everyone, including the indigent. Emergency healthcare facilities and hospitals in Florida and the rest of the United States are also mandated by law to allow virtually anyone to use their emergency care services regardless of the ability to pay. The heavy use of these emergency care facilities by people who have no intention of paying, has resulted in exorbitant pricing that effectively negates the ability of hospitals to provide affordable long-term healthcare options for the average person.
These and many other factors will continue to drive more traditional hospitals to reduce their medical staff, available healthcare services, and likely to increase costs leading to even more closures. At the same time, there are a great many advances in remote healthcare that are having a direct impact on how the average person can access professional medical care and treatment, diminishing the role of traditional hospitals in Boca Raton and throughout the nation.
An Increase of Telemedicine and Remote Healthcare in 2021
The Internet of Things or IoT is probably not the first reaction when someone has a medical emergency in rural areas, but look for the role of remote healthcare options and telemedicine to continue advancing rapidly throughout the course of 2021.
Medical devices and medical phone apps will see a massive increase in popularity and use over the course of 2021. People who are known to be at risk will enjoy an increasing number of emergency medical response options for their smart phones or home computers.
In the not-so-distant past, remote healthcare and telemedicine were largely relegated to the area of patient monitoring for outpatient services or for keeping track of the medical treatment process. Fortunately, those days are over and both telemedicine and remote healthcare services have expanded rapidly as the technological revolution continues to permeate virtually every aspect of our lives.
One of the first and most promising major advances in remote healthcare, was an increased ability to successfully diagnose the problems of a medical patient over the phone lines, or even in face-to-face video conference calls with certified healthcare professionals.
The ability to accurately determine what the problem is before undergoing extensive testing or extended stays, gives the medical patient the ability to determine what all of their healthcare and medical treatment options are, and to select the healthcare facilities that are best suited to meet all of their needs.
Both telemedicine and remote healthcare, in cooperation with the Internet of Things, have actually led to a very new field of study and pursuit of a new alternative future of medicine, now being recognized as IoMT or the Internet of Medical Things.
One major aspect of this has been the introduction of cloud technologies that allow doctors to effectively consult not only with their patients, but with one another. The exchange of data no longer requires overnight express mail, or other lengthier delays.
Information about the medical patient, their patient history, complete diagnoses, and other information can be relayed instantly, without the patient ever having to leave their home. If there is any major drawback to the area of telemedicine and remote healthcare services, it seems to be the infrastructure that is necessary to provide high-speed internet connections in the more rural areas of Florida. Look for this problem to go away though, as wireless connections and the underlying infrastructure continue to improve.
Eventually, many of these patients will ultimately need to visit some form of medical center, but their options will further increase as 2021 sees an increase in the number of “Alternative Medical Centers” where patients can enjoy increasingly personalized and professional healthcare, without all of the headaches and hassles of a visit to a major hospital.
Increase in Alternative Medical Centers and Medical Cooperatives in 2021
One very interesting phenomenon in 2020 was the increasing number of doctors, doctor offices, and smaller health care facilities that were purchased by private investment firms. While this has led to an increased focus on profits, it has also led to an increased pursuit of efficiency and quality in order to ensure that the profitability of these investments remains consistent or continues to grow.
The end result has been an incredible increase in the number of smaller, alternative or private healthcare facilities. These smaller healthcare facilities do not require the massive administrative costs of the major hospitals, and can offer more personalized healthcare without any loss of professional quality in medical care for their patients.
In the 1990s the trends for expansion of emergency medical care saw a major increase in the availability of emergency services through smaller clinics and health care centers. In 2021 look for what are essentially small-scale alternative hospitals, offering a full range of complete medical services, while at the same time working without all of the overhead and restrictive nature of a top-heavy administrative staff.
Investors and more accurately, private investment firms, do not invest in short term solutions, but long term ventures that will retain the ability to create a positive cash flow. What does this mean for people seeking out medical care in 2021?
It means that the average medical patient can expect expert medical care equivalent to anything that they can get in the biggest hospitals, in a smaller, more personalized and professional medical center. Many of these medical centers are also serving as proving grounds for more than just hospital alternatives, but introducing additional ways to save money when seeking out medical care.
Look for New Trends in Healthcare in the Form of Memberships to Private Healthcare Facilities in 2021
The idea of cooperatives is certainly nothing new in 2021. Agricultural centers, farmers markets, and many in the food industry have been actively engaged in cooperative movements for decades if not more. The idea of medical cooperatives is relatively new, but is something to watch in terms of the medical trends for 2021.
In these situations, doctors and other medical professionals will pool their talents in a small, private medical center that serves essentially every function that a major hospital would in terms of patient care. Patients and their families will pay a small monthly fee, and retain access to the care within these facilities.
These membership plans will help to offset the cost of providing professional medical care, and work in conjunction with existing insurance plans, allowing the doctors to continue working through more traditional billing practices that have already been established. At the same time, medical patients will be able to work with the same people, building familiarity, especially in terms of family healthcare where the family will be likely to use the same doctors for multiple generations.
As is the case with any investment, and in order to remain profitable, these medical cooperatives or healthcare membership plans should increase the quality of medical care and treatments, while reducing the proverbial red tape and hassles for medical patients in these alternative healthcare facilities.
Advanced Health Care MD in Boca Raton, Florida is presently working on just such a membership plan, and looks forward to being able to ensure better medical care at reduced costs for the people of Boca Raton, around the Everglades and throughout Florida.