Health care is always in flux as technology, government regulations, and patient expectations change. Though patient needs are a top priority, health care facilities must strategize and adapt to increase their services and provide the best care. Here are a few of the current health care trends that affect all patients.
Health Care Conglomerates
Many hospitals and clinics are partnering up and combining forces to increase their quality of care and reduce operational costs. Facilities are rebranding and restructuring under umbrella organizations to take advantage of good reputations and market popularity. Many private physicians’ offices are also joining hospital groups to save money on insurance, overhead, and offer advanced care to their patients.
Online Prescriptions and Drug Price Increases
Online prescriptions have been around for some time now, and patients continue to opt for the convenience of automatic refills and shipping. However, the price of drugs continues to rise. Policymakers and drug companies are still at odds with each other, though there are rumors about cooperative partnerships among pharma manufacturers and health insurance providers to alleviate some of the patients’ financial burden.
Online Support and Services
Since many patients own smartphones and other mobile devices, more health care facilities use online portals and web-based applications to communicate information to patients and provide remote services. Patients can track their records, test results, and receive reminders for upcoming appointments. They may also have access to on-demand nursing support when they have specific questions about reactions, symptoms, or exam preparation.
Psychologists and therapists are also using mobile applications to provide continuous support for their patients, especially those who are high risk. Mobile apps typically contain resources for specific conditions, supplemental support while the therapist is away, and live chat options.
Increased Use of Retail Clinics
Retail clinics such as urgent care facilities and drug store clinics are increasingly popular. Instead of visiting hospitals or physicians’ offices to receive consistent and reliable primary care, individuals and families opt for short-term treatment solutions on an as-needed basis. An article from USC Online points out that retail clinics have a false reputation for providing lower quality care and that such clinics staff highly trained professionals capable of tackling basic health concerns such as colds, the flu, certain infections, and even pneumonia.
Open Discussions About Cancer
Cancer is a common term these days, though patients don’t want to hear that term from their doctors. However, conversations about cancer are more casual, and patients tend to speak about their conditions more openly.
Talking to children about cancer can be quite challenging, but there are tactics to use to ease fears and reduce anxiety. For example, the University of Cincinatti suggests avoiding using big words that may sound frightening to a young child. Instead, break down the complexity of cancer and the treatment process into simplistic terms. Don’t lie or withhold information, but explain the situation thoroughly in a way that’s easier for kids to understand.
Much more is on the horizon for health care in the coming years. Patients can expect to see advancements in their treatment plans and communication portals as technology changes and practitioners face more performance-based demands.