Predictions 2023: Five healthcare trends to watch out for
The challenges plaguing the healthcare system tend to be longstanding: in many ways, the problems providers and institutions face today aren’t much different from what they were 10 years ago. For example, there have always been human resource and capacity issues.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated cyclical issues, revealing the depth of the cracks in our healthcare system. As providers, hospitals and health systems have been forced to adapt to a new paradigm, it has become clear that the status quo is no longer sufficient. If ever there was a time to innovate and experiment with new models and different approaches, that time is now. As we reflect on 2022 and look toward 2023, we can identify three recurring challenges to the healthcare sector:
1. Human resource strain:
2. Backlog of service needs:
The pandemic led to countless individuals having healthcare services – such as surgeries or diagnostic tests – cancelled, delayed, and rescheduled. Many people also went a long time without seeing their primary care provider in person, if they even had one. In some cases, this may have led to underlying health issues going undetected, leading to the need for greater interventions than if the issue had been diagnosed earlier.
3. Organizations struggling to reset:
Five Predictions for 2023
Against this background, HealthHub Solutions predicts the following five major trends in the Canadian healthcare sector in 2023:
Prediction #1: A focus on simple digital solutions
Healthcare organizations will increasingly look to implement simple, effective solutions that target specific pain points for patients and clinicians. These solutions will address “must have” needs, such as helping to improve communications, enabling better patient experiences (both in hospital and at home), driving system-wide efficiencies, and improving the user experience for clinicians. Digital healthcare solutions will proliferate as stakeholders increasingly replace legacy systems with more effective digital solutions.
Prediction #2: Intelligent automation
Automating time-consuming manual tasks and processes is key to boosting clinician efficiency. Freeing up staff time will allow greater focus on direct patient care. According to one study, nurses spend an average of 33 percent of their shift interacting with technology. This time could be used more effectively caring for patients face-to-face. Meanwhile, according to the Ontario Medical Association (OMA), studies have shown that physicians spend two hours on electronic documentation for every one hour of direct patient interaction. Intelligent automation would reduce the administrative burden placed on nurses and physicians, allowing them to spend more time providing care.
Prediction #3: Greater patient involvement
The days of patients assuming the role of passive observers to their own care are dwindling. Moving into 2023 and beyond, patients will become stronger advocates for themselves, becoming more involved in their own care. Hospitals and health systems that involve patients and place them at the centre of their own care will be more successful than those that don’t. Research has also linked greater patient involvement with better individual outcomes. One study that examined self-advocacy in women with cancer concluded that self-advocacy may limit the potential for disparities in care and outcomes among individuals from marginalized groups.
Prediction #4: More emphasis on green solutions
Globally, the healthcare sector is responsible for 4.4% of harmful greenhouse gas emissions, a result of care delivery and product and technology procurement that is linked to a carbon-intensive supply chain. Healthcare contributes to carbon emissions through energy consumption, transportation, and the manufacture, use, and disposal of products. Canada is one of the worst offenders: the combined greenhouse gases emitted by the healthcare sectors of Canada, the United States, England, and Australia is greater than the carbon emissions of all but six nations worldwide. As climate change continues to be an ever-present and pressing issue, stakeholders will want to know about the environmental impact of any solutions they implement.
Prediction #5: Stronger vertical integrations
Healthcare has a history of being horizontally integrated – for example, a hospital partnering with another hospital to address issues such as scalability or availability of services. In contrast, in a vertical integration, institutions with different capability sets join forces, boosting the effectiveness of care and improving patients’ experiences and outcomes. For example, a hospital linking directly to a long-term care (LTC) facility or a mental health provider or primary care provider. True integration occurs when institutions share budgets and staff. In a vertical integration scenario between an LTC facility and a hospital, a long-term care patient could be seen by an acute care physician without having to leave their bed. In 2023, healthcare stakeholders will more closely focus on the opportunities afforded by vertical integration, and the technologies needed to support this.
As the aftershocks of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to reverberate throughout the healthcare sector, disrupting legacy models that no longer serve patients or clinicians, the time is ripe for organizations to re-engineer their internal processes, reconsider antiquated systems and revisit their approaches to care.
Overcoming the challenges cited earlier will depend on healthcare stakeholders embracing a digital-first mindset and adopting transformative new solutions. Any digital solutions should be implemented with the intent of augmenting the work of healthcare providers; as such, clinicians should be at the forefront of leading organizational change. Technology must always be balanced with the human side of care.
As organizations initiate or accelerate their digital transformations in 2023, HealthHub Solutions is ideally positioned to partner with hospitals and health systems, helping them develop their digital strategies as they adapt to ever-evolving challenges.
Building on over 50 years of experience partnering with Canadian hospitals and health systems, HealthHub Solutions tackles the biggest issues in healthcare by identifying and aggregating applications at the point of care, to optimize patient and staff experience, health outcomes and cost savings. HealthHub enables digital transformation for its partners in healthcare, starting at the bedside.
to the healthcare sector: