The healthcare industry is moving. In 2016, primary care will move from the hospital to the home. Medical product manufacturers that recognize this shift and apply innovative product design for home use will have a distinct competitive advantage.
Richard Rothschild of Vitals reported that over 68 hospitals have closed over the past five years. Rothschild added, “The hard truth is some hospitals deserve to close. Too big for their own good, hospitals have tried to be all things to all patients. This leads to expensive machinery sitting idle (or worse: being used just to earn its rent); Departments not being equal in quality; And routine medical procedures being overpriced to subsidize specialized care done less often.”
While some may see this statistic and be alarmed, the rise of quality, affordable treatment options has more than offset these closures. New trends in technology have led to some exciting breakthroughs that will change the way medical professionals care for their patients.
Free Agent Doctors
The Affordable Care Act moved many physicians from a fee-for-service model to a pay-for-performance one. Coordinating care along with the complex financials has become more challenging for group practices and offices. Over 40 percent of primary care physicians are no longer affiliated with hospitals or medical groups. These free agents are finding more lucrative opportunities despite exposing themselves to economic risks — and they’re helping patients save money.
Home Care Opportunities
Home care is a very hot field right now. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted that 1.3 million additional jobs will be created between now and 2020, with a 69 percent growth in home health positions and 70 percent growth in personal care aide positions. That’s a significant projected growth compared to the 14 percent increase across all jobs. The aging population is the main driver for this demand—every day, 10,000 Americans turn 65, and 80 percent of seniors receiving assistance are living in private homes, rather than assisted living facilities.
Smart Sensors and the Healthcare Internet of Things
The healthcare Internet of Things market will hit $117 billion by 2020, reported TJ McCue of Forbes. Like any other industry, health organizations have access to more data than ever before. Companies that can harness this data to better serve their clients will be able to provide more effective and affordable care.
An important breakthrough in the healthcare Internet of Things is the adoption of “smart sensors,” wearable devices that can collect patient data remotely. Using these smart sensors, healthcare providers like the University of Southern California’s Virtual Care Clinic can collect this data to slash costs and improve engagement. Doctors will be able to monitor patients from anywhere, and patients can get treatment in the comfort of their homes.
These trends are moving care away from hospitals and into patients’ homes. Consumer health product design will reflect this. In order to continue developing quality products, manufacturers need to partner with a firm that can design these breakthrough medical products.