Fall 2019: Healthcare Updates to Know

It may still feel like summer where you live, but fall has arrived. Changing leaves, cooler weather and pumpkin-flavored treats are now upon us. So are changes in the healthcare industry, and we’ve compiled a list of some of them for you.

Healthcare Cost Trends Rise in the United States and Beyond 

Though this country’s healthcare spending is approximately $3.3 trillion, it’s not the only nation whose healthcare system is experiencing noticeable price and inflation pressure. A new report states that the gross global medical trend price increase is expected to average 8 percent next year, an increase from 2019. Case in point: medical prices are forecasted to increase 15 percent in 2020, and the predicted medical cost trend rate for next year for the Asia-Pacific region is 8.7 percent.

Uninsured Rate Rising for the First Time in Almost a Decade

According to the United States Census Bureau, the percentage of Americans without health insurance was 8.5 in 2018, for a total of about 27.5 million people. That’s up from 7.9 percent (25.6 million) the year prior and the biggest increase since the Affordable Care Act was enacted in 2010.

Consumer Technology Association Updates Guidelines for Health Data Privacy

A set of voluntary guidelines developed and released by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) in 2015 have been modified by the organization. The goal of the principles, which are designed to assist “companies in the health and wellness ecosystem,” is to “help mitigate risks that consumers may perceive with respect to their personal health information.” The new recommendations encompass the accumulation, utilization and sharing of data obtained from personal health and wellness devices, websites, smartphone and tablet apps and more.

Healthcare Continues to Be a Primary Topic in the Political Arena

The idea of “Medicare for All” continues to be a hot-button issue in politics, especially as multiple Democratic presidential candidates are offering it as a solution to address the high healthcare costs in the United States. ProPublica defines this single-payer system as one in which “a government entity reimburses doctors and hospitals at a set rate.” This type of system is used in some other countries, including Israel, Canada, Australia, France and South Korea. Critics of Medicare for All argue that it requires too much of a restructuring of the United States healthcare system.

New Report Outlines Challenges to Implementing Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare

NPJ Digital Medicine recently published a report in which its authors argue that the healthcare industry has too many systems firmly in place to achieve the fullest benefits artificial intelligence has to offer. Among the article’s key points are that “AI innovations by themselves do not re-engineer the incentives that support existing ways of working” and “most healthcare organizations lack the data infrastructure required to collect the data needed to optimally train algorithms.”

Cybercrime Continues to be an Issue for the Healthcare Industry

Cyberattacks are increasing and making small hospitals especially vulnerable. That’s according to a recent Moody’s Investors Service report titled “Hospitals & Health Service Providers – US: Cyberattacks Pose Growing Operational And Financial Risks For Hospitals.” The report notes that many small hospitals don’t have enough resources to implement strong risk management strategies. It also cites three ways hospitals will be affected by cyberattacks and threats, including threats that jeopardize patient safety and result in harm or death, EHR disruption and increased sharing of health data.

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