Mar 21, 2024

With deafening volume, this tournament is broadcasting explicitly that healthcare continues an ever-accelerating, mathematically preposterous rate of change. It sounds like an exaggeration, but the change in our industry is truly showing no sign of slowing down. 

As these final eight teams show in dramatic fashion, healthcare in 2024 may finally be orienting around the stakeholder with the most to gain or lose from the healthcare system: the patient. The field is composed of mostly holdover trends, but three newcomers pose a real threat in the Round of 8. 

Watch our video playlist to find out how the trends fared in each of the four regions for the Rounds of 16 & 8.

Explore the interactive bracket and watch the tournament unfold weekly on our LinkedIn page, where you can join the discussion too!

Will the newbies prevail, or will the old guard hold its ground? Let’s see! 


Lasting Effects of GLP1s Blasts Pursuit of Vertical Integration

This Cinderella is still in it! This has been a stupendous performance from a freshman eight-seed that is simply blowing the competition out of the water. As GLP1s have already fundamentally improved the physical, mental, and emotional health of millions of people, the next chapter will determine its ripple effects from one of the deepest benches we’ve ever seen in this tournament. 

“Probably, GLP1s will have a lasting impact on the rest of our careers.”

GLP1s have a sweeping effect, creating positive health outcomes for individuals who may struggle with diabetes or obesity. The sheer impact is remarkable when considering that 40 million Americans have diabetes, which costs $413 annually in medical and indirect expenses. Furthermore, obesity is a direct cause of multiple debilitating conditions and chronic diseases. The emergence of a new class of drug that can quickly treat or even reverse these conditions—and cut costs—provides unstoppable momentum to this trend. 

Welcome to the Round of 4, Lasting Effects of GLP1s!


Focus on Women’s Health Routs Mental and Behavioral Health Integration

Upset! Mental and Behavioral Health Integration (2), embattled after the Round of 16, had nothing left in its tank against Focus on Women’s Health (5), which is having an amazing tournament. The implications of women’s health across so many social dimensions and multiple other trends playing a role in this tournament – dementia and Alzheimer’s care, the presidential election, SDoH and health equity, and all trends that involve consumer health decision-making – make this trend a dangerous competitor. 

“Women’s health is THE issue of this decade.”

Mental and Behavioral Health Integration is still a worthy trend and one that is sure to be back in 2025. Mental and behavioral health is completely misaligned with primary care – for example, the highest demand for mental health services is between 11pm and 1am – a total mismatch with traditional healthcare. Especially troubling is the recent statistic from Medscape that 90% of physicians report experiencing some type of depression, putting a disturbing twist on the picture and emphasizing the need for integration and de-stigmatization. The importance of this health sector continues to expand, and we look forward to watching them compete again in the future. 

Congratulations, Focus on Women’s Health, on making it to the Round of 4!


Economic Impact of SDoH and Health Equity Falls to Evolution of Medicare Advantage

The brawn of the Evolution Medicare Advantage (1) is undeniable – not that the Selection Committee believed that Economic Impact of SDoH and Health Equity would be any sort of challenger. Medicare Advantage covers more than half of all Medicare beneficiaries, making it a dynamo and blue blood in this tournament that will influence the industry far into the foreseeable future. 

This blow-out of a game (4-0) does offer one consolation to the loser: as Medicare Advantage continues to evolve, it stands to improve health equity and an understanding of social determinants of health in America. And if that happens, millions of people will come out winners.

In its third visit to the March Healthcare Classic, Medicare Advantage joins the Round of 4 for a second time. This year it appears as not just the only number-one seed – but the only trend seeded in the top half of the entire bracket. Well done, Evolution of Medicare Advantage


Expansion of Self-Care Scrapes by Real Impact of Price Transparency

Like so many games in this amazing tournament, this one launched another Cinderella – Expansion of Self-Care (8) – into the Round of 4. This eight seed had to dig deep to beat the far more experienced Real Impact of Price Transparency (6) – and it did in an overtime brawl, taking the win 3-2. A truly heroic performance from a team that was new to the tournament against a veteran all-star team that also had a great showing this year.

Self-care is not just putting more control in the hands of the patient, remarked one Committee member; it’s also, through connected devices, unlocking reams of valuable patient data that historically was too much and too difficult to gather and synthesize. 

Price transparency likewise will have a significant impact on healthcare for the benefit of patients, and although this trend is true March Healthcare Classic royalty with four tournament appearances, some say it’s only starting to change healthcare – in other words, “you ain’t seen nothing yet.” 

A fun, white-knuckle ride – and big props to Expansion of Self-Care for moving on to the Round of 4!

Which trends do you think will shape the industry in 2024? 

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