cost of healthcareThe cost of healthcare was the big focus at the JP Morgan 2016 healthcare conference held in January in San Francisco. Attended by all of the major healthcare providers, it’s a window into what is going to shape the healthcare sector in 2016.

According to reporting from Becker’s Hospital Review, these were the 10 topics that got the most attention at the conference:

  1. Value-based care. Providers recognize that the fee-for-service model is going away. They are preparing for the new revenue environment that is going to be based on value and improved patient outcomes.
  2. Understanding costs and margins. Large healthcare provider systems are going to work to find better and more efficient ways of understanding the costs of their population health management efforts, and to better understand what drives margins in bundled care contracts.
  3. Lowering the per-unit cost of care delivery. This is a top-level board strategy.
  4. An expanded vision of what a healthcare system should be. The large providers don’t think of themselves as just hospitals anymore. They are moving to a holistic view of caring for a person’s health. This includes developing and administering their own proprietary health insurance plans.
  5. Outpatient services growth. The move toward emphasizing outpatient services over in-patient has been going on for some time, but efforts in this area are going to be accelerated.
  6. Personalized Medicine. This has also been a trend over the past several years, and it will continue to be an emphasis in 2016 and beyond. Geisinger Health System is using family history and predictive analytics as a way to anticipate and prevent health problems before they occur. Others will be doing the same.
  7. Get bigger. The belief is that growth through merger and acquisition will allow providers to manage population health more effectively as well as allow them to negotiate better rates.
  8. Partner. Where acquisition isn’t feasible, providers will be seeking to partner with other systems that serve the same geographic area.
  9. Focus on the healthcare consumer. The market is demanding more convenient access to care and transparency in how much it will cost for treatment. Providers will be developing ways to satisfy this demand.
  10. Brand. As healthcare becomes a consumer-driven marketplace, providers recognize that reputation through brand will be increasingly important. They will be investing in efforts to strengthen their brands.

In future posts, we’ll look at how these trends will impact medical device design.