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Laudio 2021 Predictions: Healthcare Transformation - Accelerating out of the Pandemic

vmblog 2021 prediction series 

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2021.  Read them in this 13th annual VMblog.com series exclusive.

Healthcare Transformation - Accelerating out of the Pandemic

By Russ Richmond, CEO and Founder, Laudio

Healthcare faced unprecedented challenges last year that will carry forward into 2021 and beyond. Overnight, the pandemic environment foisted change on an industry that is slow to transition. As we witness an acceleration in healthcare innovation and transformation that is fueled by the pandemic, here are a few predictions to keep in mind for 2021.

Data, everywhere: the advent of IOT and 5g means that personal health sensors become ubiquitous in personal lives, ambulatory care, and inpatient care.  The cost of sensors is going way down, microprocessor improvements mean they utilize less power and can transmit data continuously, all bringing a new meaning to clinical surveillance.

War in the cloud: Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and Salesforce allocate more budget to healthcare cloud and continue to jockey for position as the preeminent platform for build.  As the healthcare sector continues to grow and become the largest segment of our services drive the economy, every important player will need to have a significant stake to stay relevant. 

Healthcare burnout explodes: the healthcare workforce will feel the aftershocks of the pandemic long after the vaccine begins to be administered - taking care of the workforce becomes a major theme, globally. No one is beating pots and pans to celebrate the risk-taking of caregivers anymore, yet the risks continue with nurses dying every week, families getting infected, and the moral injury that accompanies witnessing lonely deaths.

Union resurgence: unions, emboldened by the risks of the front-line workforce in the pandemic, gain negotiating power. A Biden administration will create a more conducive environment and new health systems and facilities will need to acquiesce or fight hard.

Race matters: the disproportionate health impact of the pandemic on black and brown people will be used as an important evidence point to expand healthcare benefits.  It will become a social justice issue.  Dartmouth Atlas-like efforts to map the impact of the pandemic will show that disparities deepened, that survival was directly linked to zip-codes, and that our legacy system structurally reinforced and deepened it. 

Amazon takes health: starting with testing and pharmacy, and rapidly expanding to both telehealth and insurance, Amazon will get more than a toehold in the biggest portion of the American economy.  Amazon needs to disrupt health to continue its torrid growth rate, and its distribution and logistics network means it can provide care at home, in person when necessary, and perhaps all within the convenience of a Prime bundle.  CVS and Walgreens will be in trouble after the historic vaccination surge subsides.

The safety net expands and is super expensive: the affordable care act will be upheld, and indeed expand via better federal and state-level marketing of the programs.  However, costs do not decline, all stakeholders benefit and take more profits.  The "affordable" part of the legislation will have to wait for a public option and other payor-side efforts to be able to pass both chambers.

Epic victory lap: Epic expands its dominance in EHR and launches into the crosshairs of the feds looking at anti-competitive behavior.  Epic will expand its services into other parts of the healthcare ecosystem and will be increasingly vulnerable to claims that it does not play well with other vendors. 

Annual engagement surveys decline: the annual engagement survey will continue to be too bulky and too infrequent, and enter its final, gasping phase of relevance.  Real-time and continuous options will begin to be deployed that better serve all stakeholders, and human resources groups will increasingly have the nuanced understanding of their organization to make more nimble and impactful decisions.

At home is the place for care: at home, acute care services will be launched by every major health system in the country.  These will be delivered with better managed and more highly skilled home health workers who become specialized in various types of acute care.  Costs will go down and convenience will go up and there will be pressure to expand these programs. 

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About the Author

Russ Richmond 

Dr. Russ Richmond is CEO of Laudio, a software company delivering critical infrastructure for the healthcare workforce. Russ is a recognized healthcare entrepreneur with a vision to create a platform that provides health system leadership teams and frontline managers an integrated management system that fills the gap between information and action. With Laudio, health systems dramatically improve employee engagement, increase retention, and reduce burnout. The result is that leading health systems such as Sharp, UNC Health, and Boston Medical Center use Laudio to save millions annually and reduce turnover.

Published Monday, January 25, 2021 7:50 AM by David Marshall
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