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December 11, 2019  | Updated: May 13, 2020

Category: Healthcare Industry


As 2019 quickly draws to a close, many eyes are on the health care industry in 2020 and what patients, providers, and facilities can expect.

It may come as no surprise that mental health, prescription drug pricing, and the role of technology will all take center stage. However, there are a few issues that are expected to come out of the woodwork and take prominence in the health care discussion throughout 2020.

A recent article in Forbes magazine listed several predictions as to what’s in store for the nation’s health care system next year.

Mental health conditions and substance abuse disorders will be in the spotlight: Startup companies that increase access to care for mental health conditions and substance use disorders are growing in number. More importantly, the stigma surrounding such conditions is slowly diminishing. You can expect conversations about mental health conditions as well as treatment options to continue  and receiving treatment for conditions to become less denounced.

Prescription drug prices and pharmaceutical innovation: Prices for prescription medications will continue to be scrutinized, but much of that negative attention could be balanced by pharmaceutical and biomedical innovations. There were major recent advancements at the end of 2019, such as the FDA approval for a Ketamine-based drug to treat major depressive disorder and suicidal ideation.

Big box retailers, other atypical organizations will attempt to enter the market: According to an article in the Harvard Business Review, Walmart and Best Buy have recently taken steps to enter the health care market. Walmart recently opened a clinic in Georgia that offers a wider array of primary health care, counseling, dental care, and X-ray services. The clinic is staffed by a physician, not simply nurse practitioners. At the same time, Best Buy spent approximately $1 billion in the past year to acquire three companies that provide either health care monitoring services for seniors or broader services in the area of health care analytics.

Home-based care will continue to grow: The average cost for a hospital bed is in the thousands per day. This large price tag, along with new technologies and evolving patient preferences, is forcing health care delivery organizations to evaluate how and where care is delivered. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the two fastest-growing occupations in health care are personal care aides and home health aides.

Balance of power will shift from hospital systems back to physician groups: Across the United States, physician groups who face acquisition by hospital systems are looking for other options. Companies are popping up that organize private physician groups into accountable care organizations. However as markets evolve, it is possible that equity-backed physician groups will end up being acquired by large hospital systems.

Blockchain technology to shape health care models: With the health care industry increasingly going digital, blockchain technology can provide the much-needed trust and security for health care data. At the same time, it allows for the complementation of artificial intelligence and internet of things-based data marketplace offerings, according to market research firm Frost & Sullivan. The company found that early commercial success, primarily in selective areas such as personal health records, health professional credentialing, and medical billing management, will help the market cross $500 million by 2022 at a compound annual growth rate of 61.40%.

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