Health care policies vary widely around the globe, and with the United States being one of the world's most regulated countries with constantly changing guidelines, it can be challenging to keep up with the evolving regulations. As the usage of technological tools steadily increases, the industry landscape is constantly changing.
Here are 8 trends in health care to be aware of in 2016:
1. The Affordable Care Act:
One of the most notable American health care policy measures to be aware of in 2016 is the Affordable Care Act, which comes under scrutiny especially in this election year. The law includes a “Patient's Bill of Rights” that gives more patient choice regarding health insurance coverage plans and doctor preference. The law also puts the power of health insurer oversight in federal hands, resulting in companies’ implementation of federal administrative requirements.
2. Patients at the Center of Clinical Trials:
The Federal Drug Administration's Patient-Focused Drug Development Program, launched in 2016, empowers patients to help shape their treatment through past medical history and feedback throughout treatment. The FDA's Patient Engagement Advisory Committee, uniting patients, patient advocacy groups and experts for a broad discussion on patient-related issues on medical devices, met this year. By fostering an open dialogue among patients and researchers, better results are expected to be achieved among research and prescriptions.
3. More Biomedical Research Will Be Conducted
Part of the Precision Medicine Initiative put forth by President Barack Obama, the development of more targeted treatments based on individual differences in areas such as lifestyle, environment and genes will occur. An emphasis on prevention of diseases (rather than treatment of) will be adopted, with patients, providers and researches collaborating to establish personalized care.
4. Technology Advances in Clinical Research
The proliferation of technology makes its way to the health care sector, as mobile applications such as clinical trial management systems become more widely adopted and aid in managing planning, performing, reporting, storing of participant contact information and forecasting. Clinical trial conductors and health care systems aren't the only adopters of technology – mobile health app adoption is increasing, as national professional services network PwC reports the percentage of consumers with at least one medical, health or fitness app on their mobile devices doubled from 2013 to 2015, from 16% to 32%. As apps, wearable sensors and online systems help improve data quality and increase investment by patients in clinical trials, the FDA has regulations in place for smart devices that capture and transmit vitals to caregivers.
5. Increased Technology Means More Data Usage
As technology adoption increases for health care providers, clinical researchers and patients, so does the amount of valuable data that accumulates to improve efficiency. Business and economics research firm, McKinsey Global Institute, estimates by applying big data strategies to inform decision-making, $100 billion in value can be added annually across the health care industry. Interest in the usage of big data is exponentially increasing, as the 2016 Global Health Care Outlook Report by professional services firm Deloitte states, the global health care analytics market ranges between $4 billion and $5 billion, with the U.S. accounting for about half of that amount. Expect data technology capture and analysis to be integrated in everything from clinical research best practices to participant segmentation.
6. Health Care Cybersecurity Becomes a Priority
With increased usage of technology in clinical trial and health care realms, cybersecurity becomes a more prominent factor in healthcare trends. Expect cloud storage usage to increase, as organizations strive to store data with anywhere-access in the cloud that provides encrypted protection of precious customer data. Since the Top Health Industry Issues of 2016 Report by PwC states 40% of consumers would stop using a health organization if it is hacked, security regulations will be prominent among health care and clinical trial entities.
7. Organizations Take Risk into Account
The FDA's risk-based approach to monitoring guidelines serves to protect human subjects in clinical trials by examining sponsor oversight and taking a risk-based approach to methods. Tying in with the focus of putting consumers at the forefront of personalized health care and clinical trial participation, expect these guidelines to continually evolve to minimize risk for patients using prescription drugs and taking part in trials.
8. More Publicized Information About Drug Efficacy
For those who are considering participating in clinical trials or for those who are weighing their options in terms of prescription drugs, expect information to be more widely disseminated so Americans can make more informed decisions about the medications they take. Andy Slavitt, acting administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, has promoted more value-based payments of drugs, more public information about the efficacy of drugs and more transparency about drug prices. The increased amount of publicly available information allows potential clinical trial participants and prescription drug users to make better decisions based on personal circumstances.
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