How Will the 2016 Election Impact Healthcare?
While we do not know exactly what to expect in the next year (or four), we can definitively say that change is coming. With Washington turning over, the 2016 election will absolutely impact healthcare in at least three ways: repealing the Affordable Care Act, patients assuming more financial responsibility for their care (while demanding that it be more convenient) and new grants spurring on further development in the fields of healthcare automation and IT security.
Change Opens the Door for New Opportunities
We are about to see more changes in healthcare in any single year than we have seen in the last decade. Change is scary, but it also opens up for new opportunities. Much like we saw with Meaningful Use, there was a sudden windfall of money that not only created jobs at the hospital level, but an entire industry saw an influx of new companies ready to capitalize on the electronic health records market.
Rural hospitals receiving government grants was particularly important because they comprise 35% of all hospital providers in the United States, with the majority operating at a loss. Achieving Meaningful Use brought them cash that allowed them to keep their doors open. As a result, demand increased for electronic health records software. New vendors opened seemingly overnight to meet this gap in the market. As Meaningful Use funding fades, it will be interesting to see what government incentive programs are created, how EHR vendors will respond to new programs and what positions will be created as a result.
Gaps in Information Technology Workforce
We will likely see an increase in new healthcare executive roles that will be created out of the growing need in the cybersecurity professionals. Forbes predicts that there will be 6 million job openings for information security professionals by 2019 with a shortage of 1.5 million professional to fill these roles. Being short on information security is dangerous business, particularly as it applies to healthcare. But for IT security professionals, this means high salaries as companies vie for their attention.
Healthcare Automation Is on the Rise
When the ACA is repealed, the prediction is that patients will assume a larger chunk of their healthcare costs. And at the individual level, we will look for ways to save money by visiting our primary care physicians less and utilizing less expensive virtual and telehealth options. The government is responding to this by working with state medical boards to introduce legislation that breaks down the barrier to telehealth.
Telehealth is just the beginning to an increase in automation. More positions will open in developing robotics, creating and implementing remote pharmacies and the exciting field of 3D printing, which is predicted to be the biggest trend in healthcare for 2017. The FDA just approved the first 3D printed drug.
There has been a lot of fear during the last few months about the impact that the changes in government leadership will have on our nation’s healthcare system. Uncertainty is always scary, but regardless, this is an exciting time to be an executive professional in the healthcare industry.