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5 Trends in Healthcare to Watch Right Now

What’s impacting healthcare?

Over the past few years, we’ve experienced accelerating innovation across the U.S. healthcare industry. To realize continued growth and impact, health plans need to stay on top of what’s changing so they can respond. But with so much change, it can be hard to know where to start.

To help, two of our own healthcare experts,  April Gill, EVP of Strategic Development, and Salem Shunnarah, EVP & GM Health Plans & Systems, recently held an executive-level discussion with your peers on the top 5 trends in healthcare you need to be aware of. To hear what they said, watch the on-demand replay and catch the highlights below.

Trend 1: Embrace personalization within the move to healthcare consumerism

Today’s consumers have heightened expectations for personalized interactions in all aspects of life. Having become accustomed to an abundance of convenient digital options for everything from shopping to banking to ordering food, consumers are looking for a more consumer-grade experience for healthcare too.

“88% of consumers prioritize personalization as much as or more than they did two or three years ago. So, offering a way to address broad interest specific health and risks and personal goals is imperative for successful engagement and activation.” – April

“We can marry the type of unstructured data associated with social determinants of health with claims data about a consumer to give insight into being able to hyper-personalize the experience, and I think that’s what many health plans will incorporate into their business.” – Salem

Trend 2: Be ready for the tidal wave of rising costs

The financial fallout of COVID-19 is already being felt across most industries and will be long-lasting, with organizations seeing increases in resources, salary, and supply costs. Healthcare companies are not exempt and, like many employers, are also struggling with the hidden costs of mental health strain after more than two years of the pandemic.

“We are seeing the impact of deferred care, the increased need for behavioral health services, and provider shortages, and there is no additional investment in support to address this kind of growth. The average employer with 10,000 employees is facing millions of dollars in additional healthcare costs for employees.” – April

“A key thing to think about is how can we get members into lower-cost sites of care like digital modalities. Then also incentivizing and rewarding members who are exhibiting positive behaviors like using those digital tools is important.” – Salem

Trend 3: Address/understand different populations to drive better outcomes

There is a massive movement among health organizations to achieve health equity and drive health outcomes for all people. CMS recently announced its approach for advancing health equity along with a challenge to healthcare leaders to make similar commitments. Achieving health equity requires a deeper understanding of who your members genuinely are, and what they need and want – one that goes beyond superficial demographic facts and figures.

“One size doesn’t fit all. It’s important to dive in and say ‘for whom’ when addressing these disparities and consider the different aspects of the individual. Then we need to provide them with the services they need when they need them.” – April

“We can use data to understand the impact of health disparities, and then we can empower healthcare workers to meet the needs of the vulnerable populations. Whether that’s improving access or communication, it’s up to all of us to embrace these CMS principles as a framework within our organizations.” – Salem

Trend 4: Drive member activation and engagement

To drive success, organizations must adopt a data-and-science-based approach to drive more desired actions by the population and at the member level. Working with a partner who understands how to drive sustained engagement that supports long-term behavior change is critical to success.

“It’s important to reach people and keep the things they need to be healthy in front of them daily so they can stay as healthy as possible. We must provide them with the access and resources that are most important to them.” – April

“It’s not enough to just say we have this program or service. You must go the next step to educate and make it accessible so you can drive member adoption and engagement.” – Salem

Trend 5: Embrace the evolving definition of value

Health plans need to support providers in their quest to find ways to deliver value across their organization while also delivering outcomes to support the move to value-based care. When members better navigate the healthcare system, they are more engaged, adhering to preventive care recommendations, adopting healthier habits, getting control of their chronic conditions, and decreasing overall risk.

“We need to see more of our health plans partnering with providers to deliver value and outcomes. Health plans can provide an extension of their reach for providers to reach members and provide support, which adds value and engages members.” – April

“We have so many more channels to access care so the lines of what an organization does are blurred. As the healthcare system evolves so does the notion of value and what it means in terms of value-based contracts.” –  Salem

Moving Forward The bottom line is clear: staying ahead of these trends to realize continued success relies on creating meaningful, member-focused experiences. To do this well, plans must start leveraging all available data and using it in new ways to create personalized experiences that reach members across multiple channels. When this happens, organizations will build trust and lasting relationships. Virgin Pulse’s activation and engagement solutions are rooted in data and drive behavior-change and actions that matter.

Curious to dig more into any of these trends, or to hear how we’re helping plans get ahead of them? Let’s talk!

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