The global pandemic brought several temporary and permanent changes to the healthcare industry.
The past several years taught us a lot. We learned how to manage remote and in-person work, monitor developing changes in vaccines, mandates and rollouts and learned how essential technology is to the healthcare field. As the COVID pandemic continues to be on our minds, we proceed armed with a sharper focus on what our healthcare workers need.
This year, there are several changes that any healthcare provider or partner agency should keep on their radar. Here are four healthcare trends to note in 2022:
Continued focus on telehealth
The pandemic brought a huge shift from in-person to virtual appointments. Even as most doctors return to in-office visits, telehealth is expected to remain popular. In fact, the American Hospital Association notes that 60 percent of surveyed consumers are asking for expanded options for telehealth visits. Already, implementation efforts for telehealth among providers are at an astonishing rate of 38 times higher than in 2019.
Expect that expansion to continue. Virtual appointments will most likely continue to be popular especially in underserved and rural areas and for non-emergency visits.
Mental health focus
As we’ve seen in recent years, there’s a new and increased emphasis on mental wellness awareness on the job. Many companies are expanding their mental health and wellness benefits, especially given the stress brought on by the pandemic. Among the perks that may be more available at varying levels of the workplace are counseling sessions with therapists, wellness center subsidies, changes in leave policy and even days when platforms such as Zoom are not in use.
All of this is meant to address potential issues of burnout, stress and other indicators of inadequate mental wellness. It may be already be implemented in some organizations, especially larger ones. That said, expect an increased scope, especially to accommodate companies that have hybrid models which include work-from-home options.
Automated healthcare practices
Another result of the pandemic is an indicator of a trend — automation. Medical centers around the US saw huge staffing issues caused by the rising cases of COVID-19. The Health and Human Services agency notes that 16% of hospitals in the US have staffing issues. Now digital apps and assistants are becoming more a part of the landscape of healthcare. This means less of a workload for providers, convenience for those who need healthcare at this level, and an increased focus on follow-up when necessary.
Experts are also looking at another interesting trend: payment by subscription for healthcare providers. These can be used for the growing number of healthcare workers who no longer have full health insurance coverage due to the pandemic and how it changed the economy.
It’s also being used by some as a supplement to standard health insurance. With convenience and transparency being touted, it’s something that more people in the workplace are considering, especially if they’re consultants or work outside of the standard “large office” environment.
Medical billing optimization
This automation also extends to a greater focus on automated medical billing. An automated billing system uses software that bills or invoices customers without significant manual intervention. This saves time, requires less staff and means fewer errors.
In many organizations, there’s a lack of integration between various departments, unfortunately. Electronic medical records usually exist within their own silo, separated from other parts of the business. This separation leads to a variety of problems and inefficiencies, including a lack of transparency when it comes to patient data and revenue information.
That’s where we come in. We recognize the importance of medical billing and understand how this disconnect can harm revenue management and have worked to employ modern solutions to an age-old problem.
At Zotec Partners, we believe that better healthcare billing solutions for patients and providers will only come from a true transformation in the industry. It’s time for healthcare companies to harness technology that meets the modern needs of patients. One of the best ways to do this is to partner with someone who can offer providers the infrastructure necessary to take revenue cycle management to the next level. Visit our website to learn more about our processes: https://zotecpartners.com/