5 trends reshaping health care (and your job) this year
Health care hasn’t yet had its iPhone moment, but health care marketers know perhaps better than anyone else in the sector how fast old stereotypes about the industry are changing. At SmartBrief, our editors see this every day as we comb through the news for our health care provider, payer, IT and life sciences audiences. Our content curation is guided by virtual reams of engagement data, but also by the knowledge that the world is changing – fast – and we need to help our readers stay on top of it.
Here’s a snapshot of what we’ve learned is important right now in health care. These trends are reshaping the worlds of the executives and influencers your company wants to reach.
Let docs be docs (ditto nurses, pharmacists, etc.)
If you haven’t heard “let docs be docs” in at least one industry talk, product pitch or brainstorming session in the past year, you’ve probably spent too much time working under a rock. Clinicians have pushed back for years against technology, processes and metrics that fail to account for their needs and workflows. The industry – particularly tech vendors and payers -- is starting to listen and to see the importance of demonstrating respect and empathy for those on the front lines of clinical care.
It’s been a long time coming, but health plans, medical offices and other health care stakeholders are gradually reshaping communications and operations around consumers. Trends like personalization, integration across outreach channels and price transparency have garnered a lot of interest, but organizations that really nail these capabilities are still few and far between. Meanwhile, expectations continue to rise as disruption in tech, finance and other sectors streamlines interactions with companies and simplifies life. Digital capabilities are at the heart of this shift.
Fee-for-service has been on the chopping block for a while, but value has become more than the heart of the models gradually replacing FFS. Whether drugs, devices or technology, value is the lens through which everything is examined. A steady stream of media attention to high-cost treatments continues to keep this topic top of mind, and new HHS Secretary Alex Azar recently warned hospitals that “change is coming.” Whatever your solution, does it improve outcomes sufficiently to justify the cost? Does it help clinicians provide better care? Does it let health plans target inefficiencies? No new product or service should go to market without value being addressed. You need to solve a concrete challenge, and at a high-value price point.
Care anywhere, or all in one place
The emergence of telehealth and retail clinics has upended traditional notions about clinical settings, but the prospect of an Aetna-CVS merger and unions between health insurers and health care providers is blurring lines between segments of the health care industry. As former adversaries become partners, companies that want to reach them must adapt and recognize that entirely new models for health care may result, such as holistic “health hubs.” Simultaneously, mobile health tools increasingly allow monitoring to take place anywhere, and stakeholders are recognizing that in many cases home is the best place for patients. These trends could upend the roles of hospitals and medical offices, while opening entirely new niches for growth.
Public health challenges fuel innovation
Among our hottest topics across SmartBrief’s health care audiences are the public health and health care access challenges many Americans are concerned about: The opioid crisis; antibiotic resistance; emerging diseases; and the debate over the future of Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act. These topics have brought health care conversations to many dinner tables where they were absent before, and they are front-and-center challenges for companies across the health care industry. As always, challenges are breeding innovation. From apps to health insurance design, companies are responding with solutions meant to address public health challenges, support access to care regardless of the regulatory framework and prevent the emergence of future threats.
Melissa Turner is the custom content editor for health care at SmartBrief. She edits health insurance and care delivery newsletters and manages development of content marketing pieces for SmartBrief’s health care clients.
Emily Snyder is a marketing manager at SmartBrief focusing on health care and life sciences.