Healthcare News & Insights

10 challenges that’ll keep you awake in 2010

Health reform, cost cutting and increased regulation are only three of the 10 industry-wide challenges predicted for 2010.

That’s the short version of the Pricewaterhouse Coopers’ Health Research Institute’s annual report on the health care industry. High on the list:

  • Reducing health care costs — PwC predicts health care providers of all types will be looking to pinch pennies throughout their operations. Similarly, consumers, insurers, and employers will be reviewing expenses to make sure no dollars are going to waste.
  • Health reform consequences — It’s too early to say what the final version of the bill will look like, but few doubt some kind of reform will be passed. Health care companies can expect to spend the rest of the year dealing with increased regulation and added bureaucracy. They could also see increased consumer demand as more people get coverage and/or pursue previously delayed treatment.
  • Carrot-and-stick approach to EHRs — The feds are offering tempting incentives for practices that move to electronic health records now. But at some point, those who still haven’t adopted them — or haven’t moved quickly enough — can expect to see penalties.
  • Tighter controls on fraud and waste — President Obama has increased the budget for agencies rooting out fraud. And they’re playing hardball with an emphasis on increased prosecution.
  • Alternative means of providing care — Ready or not, expectations are for more hospitals and practices to offer a variety of ways for patients to get care. Expect to see more of everything from retail and work-site health clinics, remote monitoring of patients, expanded home health services, telehealth services, and the like.
  • Re-evaluation of public health outbreak preparedness — The H1N1 epidemic wasn’t quite as deadly as was feared, but it did shine a bright light on some of the weaknesses in the health care system when it’s forced to cope with a national crisis. States and other local agencies will have to review what worked, and what didn’t. Health care providers at every level will be an integral part of that process.

Other challenges noted by PwC were: Increased reliance on tech and telecommunications, pharmaceutical companies becoming a more integral part of patient care, more physician groups joining local health systems, and an increased interest in public health issues.

You can see the full report (free registration required) here.

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