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5 Trends That Will Change Healthcare Forever

Whether it's consolidation, increased demand or patients seeking cost savings, healthcare is changing. That's why we're excited to bring you Bisnow's Hospitals, MOB & Outpatient Facilities Collab: Healthcare's Future! event Wednesday at San Francisco's Hotel Nikko. Here are the top trends in the industry:

1) Telehealth Is Growing


There is an increasing demand for and use of telehealth, including phone consultations with doctors, emails instead of office visits, even video conferencing. These options appeal to consumers for convenience (and not having to pay for an office visit) and help health providers keep down costs and keep appointment slots open for more serious cases. More than half of the nation's hospitals now use telemedicine.

Kaiser Permanente advocates telehealth for patients (and we'll have Kaiser VP Hollis Harris at our event Wednesday). In 2012, about half of patients' contact with their Kaiser primary care doctors was done by phone or email. Kaiser has started using "teledermatology" where patients can send doctors pictures of moles, lesions or rashes (or show them in a video chat). The doctors can look at the areas of concern, discuss them with patients in a video or telephone call and email diagnosis and treatment options.

2) Increased Demand


The Affordable Care Act has increased the number of Americans with health insurance, with 16.4 million uninsured gaining health coverage in the past five years. Pair that with the aging population, and more patients are relying on medical care and post-acute care for the elderly, frail and those with chronic disease, our panelists say.

There's also anticipated demand from the other end of the age spectrum. Birth rates, which declined steadily with the recession, rose slightly to 62.9 per 1,000 women of childbearing age—the first increase since 2007. In a good economy, people are optimistic, and they tend to have more children.

More children means more need for birth centers and pediatric care. One of our speakers, UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital San Francisco executive director Kim Scurr (here on a trip to Italy), says that means more demand for pediatric intensive care beds and psychiatric services.

3) Industry Consolidation


Another speaker will be Meridian COO John Pollock (here with wife Susan), who says hospital mergers and acquisitions more than doubled between 2009 and 2012, resulting in dominant medical systems acquiring top-tier physicians and practices within communities. This is driving demand for more high-quality facilities that increase efficiency and improve the patient experience, he says. Meanwhile, physicians are joining together in large, multi-specialty practices, creating demand for more medical office space as more services shift outside of hospitals, he says.

4) Cost Savings


Another speaker will be SVP of development for Pacific Medical Buildings Jake Rohe (here with his two sons), who says people are starting to shop for healthcare the way they would for a car or a television—focusing on price and quality. A patient with a high deductible might choose a virtual visit with MDLive or a Walgreens retail clinic over a hospital outpatient department due to cost, access and scope of services, he says.

From 2005 to 2015, total health insurance premiums rose 61%. Worker contributions for family coverage rose 83% during that time, indicating more employees are digging deeper into their own pockets for premiums. With more enrolled in high-deductible plans (an increase from 13% of covered workers in 2010 to 24% in 2015), workers are taking on a greater portion of their medical costs.

5) Convenience


When they do go in to see the doctor, patients want convenience. When it comes to convenience, there is a push to have more medical services closer to home, whether that means in a neighborhood medical office building or a local strip mall. Hear more from our all-star cast at Bisnow's Hospitals, MOB & Outpatient Facilities Collab: Healthcare's Future! event on Wednesday at San Francisco's Hotel Nikko. Sign up here!