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9 Healthcare Trends For 2024

2024 Healthcare Trends Perficient

Our experts are closely monitoring nine healthcare trends that are shaping industry leaders’ strategies in 2024.

And this year is especially interesting, because some of the biggest and fastest healthcare industry shifts in decades are happening right now.

As such, forward-looking healthcare organizations (HCOs) that are on-track to differentiate their brand in the modern marketplace demonstrate some key characteristics:

  • Pragmatically progressive strategies
  • Strong partnerships to see those strategies through

Let’s dive into the nine healthcare trends and pragmatic innovations that our experts are helping HCOs navigate in 2024.

Healthcare Trend #1: AI Disruption and Enablement

Healthcare has seen an explosion of interest in generative AI. However, the industry faces caveats and concerns related to AI usage that other sectors simply don’t have to consider. HIPAA, PHI, PII – the list goes on – limit the usefulness of easy-fit, plug-and-play solutions from commerce, digital experience, and other areas.

Recommended Approach: First and foremost, AI should not be thought of as a strategy in and of itself. Instead, AI serves as a strategy enabler. A well-formed strategy aligns a) key business needs and b) organizational capabilities (i.e., people, technology, and processes). AI’s “superpowers” can then be matched and optimized to specific use cases, each with well-defined KPIs.

Related: AI in Healthcare: Care Delivery Use Cases

Healthcare Trend #2: Cybersecurity In Healthcare

While security has always been top of mind for HCO’s, recent data breaches highlight cyber hacking’s significant threat to the healthcare sector. Industry leaders are rethinking how to prioritize and invest in comprehensive security measures, data protection technologies, incident response planning, and regular security assessments to safeguard against the evolving threat landscape.

Recommended Approach: Given the tight operating margins many HCOs face, leaders must strike the right balance of effectiveness and cost-efficiency. Risk management, data access controls, and continuous monitoring and logging are likely on your checklist. Be sure to also consider your software supply chain security. This includes steps to ensure your software builds aren’t compromised, data in your code repositories – which may store information that hackers would find valuable – are secure, and your DevOps pipeline integrates security (DevSecOps) from planning and development to testing and deployment. Additionally, your organization may be surprised by how many advantages cloud modernization offers over on-premises solutions.

Healthcare Trend #3: Clinician Burnout and Patient Impacts

Burnout doesn’t just contribute to staffing challenges and impact the health and well-being of healthcare’s front line workers. It also presents significant risks to patient safety, the quality of care at affected organizations, and the sustainability of those HCOs. And the cycle deepens and worsens with every newly departing nurse or physician — many of whom can’t or won’t be replaced due to budget freezes or an inadequate supply of potential candidates.

Recommended Approach: Ease the burden on clinicians by first understanding teams’ day-to-day friction points. From there, ensure that the voice of your end-users informs your modernization efforts. That open dialog and collaborative approach can create powerful change advocates who rally the adoption of digital investments, such as smart automation, trusted data, and connected experiences. Organizations must also reach and resonate with providers who are ready to make career moves. Not only do these efforts contribute to your HCO’s bottom line, but they also improve the experience for everyone — providers, patients, and caregivers alike. In the short- and long-term, your work here will build trust with your patient base and make your system a better place to both provide and seek care.

See Also: Perficient Mentioned in Two Forrester Reports on Tech-Enabled Clinician Experiences

Healthcare Trend #4: Experiences That Build Trust

Historically, healthcare has experienced higher-than-average levels of consumer trust compared to other market sectors. But, according to Gallup, Americans’ trust in the healthcare industry is now at near-record lows.

Recommended Approach: It’s critical for healthcare executives to understand where consumers’ mistrust — real or perceived, justified or not — stems from and how to address it. The first step is to make sure your organization is getting the basics of the phygital experience right by considering journeys across the continuum of both in-person and digitally-based care. Your digital front door is often the first impression for your consumers and a key component of the omnichannel experience. If that first impression goes poorly, it’s unlikely you’ll get the chance for a second one. Intelligent search can channel consumers to the right content and actions, easing their experience within your organization.

You May Enjoy: 10 Ways We Help Top-Ranked Payers Deliver Winning Member Experiences

Healthcare Trend #5: Competition From Disruptive Healthcare Models

Disruptors in the marketplace (think Amazon, Walmart, Kroger, Walgreens, etc.) can make the traditional healthcare model seem unnecessarily detached and arcane. In response, the term “business transformation” often gets tossed around and, unfortunately, it’s lassoed to new, shiny pieces of technology or a showy, superficial change. But make no mistake. Business transformation is essential for HCOs who want to build resilience and relevance in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

Recommended Approach: First, it’s important to align the enterprise around a strategic vision and actionable KPIs. From there, orchestrate resources and decision-making processes into a culture that promotes growth. Be sure you set strategic parameters for operational excellence and champion iterative delivery models. And, ultimately, innovate to add business value, meet consumers’ evolving expectations, and deliver equitable care and services. HCO’s are accelerating business transformation by shifting from a project to a product-driven approach, which supports greater agility and responsiveness to regulatory change, industry trends, and consumers’ shifting expectations.

Read More: Unpacking Business Transformation in Healthcare

Healthcare Trend #6: Better Health Outcomes Through Shared Health Data

The drive to simultaneously reduce costs and improve health outcomes is accelerating collaboration across HCOs. Health plans and integrated systems seek to more-holistically support consumer health, ease the care journey, and reduce the cost of care. And clinical data spanning an individual’s various provider relationships is key to building a holistic patient view. Groups are aligning on this opportunity, as evidenced through a playbook jointly introduced by the American Medical Association (AMA), health insurer trade group AHIP, and the National Association of ACOs exploring data sharing’s ability to advance value-based care.

Recommended Approach: Incorporating data into your organization’s processes and workflows requires technological investment in several key areas, including data integration and data management. Cloud services’ importance has surged to meet the growing need for real-time, accessible data. Some organizations have voiced reluctance regarding data integration that relies on cloud services. But, as noted by Denise Davis, corporate director of marketing technology and operations at Emory Healthcare, during our LinkedIn Live event exploring 2024 digital trends, “To a large degree, in the IT industry, there’s always that group that distrusts the cloud. But when you think back to resiliency and the strength of your tech stack, cloud has become imperative.”

Related: The Healthcare Executive’s Guide to Data and Analytics Modernization

Healthcare Trend #7: Care For the Aging and Underserved

An aging consumer base. Focus on health equity. These important factors are driving new patient engagement and business models for HCOs. Health insurers have doubled down on Medicare Advantage and Medicaid managed care plans to reach a more-diverse member base while providers push into more digitally-connected services like virtual care (telemedicine), at-home monitoring, and bespoke care to help patients better manage their health in more convenient locations.

Recommended ApproachExperience is key, especially as a growing number of consumers research care options within a competitive marketplace. Deeply understand your patients’ and members’ journeys so you can deliver differentiated digital experiences that grow market share. Improve brand affinity with intuitive, personalized care moments that build trust (and bolster Star ratings). Intelligently automate systems and processes to optimize costs and build margin that can buffer potential shifts in reimbursement models. And better-enable a surround-care approach, providing important health insights and intuitive tools to uphold medication adherence, coordinate appointments and transportation, and much more.

Your May Also Appreciate: Improving the Medicare Advantage Member Service Experience

Healthcare Trend #8: Pharmacy Benefit Manager (PBM) Challenges

Our experts are monitoring the increased scrutiny on PBMs by payers, federal regulators and lawmakers alike. This heightened spotlight on PBM transparency practices, coupled with the drive to decrease costs, has a growing group of HCOs and self-insured employers considering alternative models that replace rebates and spread pricing with flat administrative and processing fees. This reduces reliance on traditional PBM partnerships, favoring a multi-partner model – a trend that we expect will continue.

Recommended Approach: Migrating to new PBM models represents a significant step toward cost savings and improved medication management. However, achieving success in this transition relies heavily on addressing several critical focus areas, including a carefully crafted data strategy, modernized data architecture, seamless integrations, and new financial workflows. Proactive communication throughout the transition process, coupled with clear explanations of changes, is essential for minimal disruption and trust preservation. Implementing contingency plans and collaborating with healthcare providers ensures uninterrupted access to medications and services during the transition, prioritizing the member experience.

See Also: Disruptive Strategies in the Pharmacy Benefit Manager (PBM) Industry: Evolving Business Models

Healthcare Trend #9: Mandate-Driven Transformation

HCOs have vast experience navigating legal and regulatory mandates. And that work continues with new and evolving requirements for prior authorization, price transparency, and payer-to-payer communications. These mandated shifts continue to drive significant investments in identity, interoperability, and data storage for our clients. We often see HCOs focus first on “meeting the mandate” to avoid potential noncompliance fines. More forward-thinking organizations are proactively approaching mandates as a prime moment to differentiate experiences and elevate the brand.

Recommended Approach: We encourage leaders to identify mandates’ silver lining opportunities. After all, to remain competitive and compliant, HCOs must innovate in ways that add business value, meet consumers’ evolving expectations, build trust, and deliver equitable care and services. Achieving transformative outcomes and health experiences requires a digital strategy that not only satisfies mandates, but also aligns the enterprise around a shared vision and actionable KPIs, ultimately keeping patients, members, and care teams at the heart of progress. Tactically, organizations can accelerate value, privacy, and data quality with secure, compliant, and modern technology platforms and data architectures. It’s also vital to build trust in data and with consumers, paving the way for ubiquitous, fact-based decision making that supports health and enables relationships across the care continuum.

You May Enjoy: Empowering Healthcare Consumers and Their Care Ecosystems With Interoperable Data

Expert Healthcare Consulting Services: Imagine, Create, Engineer, Run

In this next decade, advances in digital health, growing consumerism, and mounting financial constraints will propel how HCOs shape experiences and deliver equitable, high-quality, cost-effective care.

Perficient combines strategy, industry best practices, and technology expertise to deliver award-winning results for leading health plans and providers:

  • Business Transformation: Activate strategy for transformative outcomes and health experiences.
  • Modernization: Maximize technology to drive health innovation, efficiency, and interoperability.
  • Data Services: Power enterprise agility and accelerate healthcare insights.
  • Consumer Experience: Connect, ease, and elevate impactful health journeys.

We are trusted by leading technology partners, mentioned by analysts, and Modern Healthcare consistently ranks us as a top healthcare IT consulting firm and a top healthcare management consulting firm.

Discover why we have been trusted by the 10 largest health systems and the 10 largest health insurers in the U.S. Explore our healthcare expertise, and contact us to learn more.

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Lysa Young-Bates

Lysa, a senior marketing manager, explores the business needs, consumer expectations, and industry challenges driving digital innovation in healthcare, life sciences, and financial services.

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