Four Quick Healthcare Trends

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Four Quick Healthcare Trends

Nurses need to stay in-the-know

By Elizabeth Hanink, RN, BSN, PHN
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PriceWaterhouseCoopers had a recent survey to assess consumer perspectives on healthcare reform, healthcare usage, and payment. In an online effort that included 1,000 adults across the population in terms of insurance status, age, gender, income, and geography they found some interesting trends:

1.    Higher deductibles = fewer office visits

As deductibles and coinsurance rise, patients skip doctor visits and medications to avoid paying out-of-pocket charges. The trickle-down effect will eventually result in fewer lab and imaging tests, and less early detection.

2.    More electronic health records
Health information technology spending is going to rise and hit new levels as all providers strive to comply with new government regulation. As part of the 2009 stimulus bill, Medicare and Medicaid (MediCal in California) will provide incentive payments when providers use electronic health records. Phase One of meaningful use will allow physicians to provide patients with paper copies of their health records.

3.    Standards for insurance companies
As part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), starting in 2011 insurance groups must spend at least 85 percent of each dollar of revenue on medical care or activities that improve healthcare quality.

4.    Cash for reducing costs

Also as a result of the ACA, a new care model will evolve known as accountable care — cash for reducing the cost of healthcare in a community while keeping the population healthy. This will differ from capitation, so popular in the 1990s, because the doctor, rather than a physician management company, will be in charge of deciding who gets paid what.  

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