It’s hard to believe it’s already been three months since the completion of the 2022 March Healthcare Classic. Following the fierce competition in the final rounds of the bracket, we are examining how the top four trends have fared so far this year. The four final trends included (14) Workforce Challenges, (14) Omnichannel Care, (1) Medicare Advantage, and (1) Platform. Continue reading to learn more about the progression of the trends and how the industry is reacting to them.

2022 Champion: Workforce Challenges (14)  

Kicking off the recap, our Champion – Workforce Challenges (14) – has remained at the forefront of conversations, as predicted by our Selection Committee. According to an HHS brief that was released in May of 2022, the healthcare industry saw a decline of a staggering 1.5 million employees in the early months of the pandemic. While the numbers have gradually increased, staff shortages peaked in January and February of 2022. During these months, 22% of hospitals reported an insufficient number of employees to manage the Omicron surge. 

While the industry is already facing staffing shortages, another survey indicates that the issue is likely to persist. Healthcare Finance reported that almost 30% of nurses who participated in a recent survey plan on leaving the profession. This is a significant increase considering that only 11% of nurses were considering leaving the profession in 2020. 

In June of 2022, the American Hospital Association released a report outlining immediate and long-term strategies to help hospital and health systems combat workforce challenges. The series will include two more reports, which will analyze data, technology, and staffing models. 

Top Two Trend: Medicare Advantage (1)  

Medicare Advantage (1) was the 2022 runner-up trend and was widely supported by the Selection Committee. Most notably, Medicare Advantage enrollment grew by 2.3 million in 2022, with the program now accounting for 45% of all Medicare enrollment. 

Following this growth, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) presented a new solution to improve the accuracy of risk adjustments. MedPAC suggested a modification to the current hierarchical condition category (HCC) model that CMS uses. MA plans receive a monthly capitation fee that accounts for “the plan’s bid and benchmark rates based on average fee-for-service spending in an area and a risk score.” The risk score analyzes an enrollee’s health compared to a national average, and is increased or decreased accordingly. 

While MA has faced some scrutiny in the past, a new survey reveals widespread satisfaction from enrollees. Nearly 3,000 MA members were surveyed and 88% expressed satisfaction surrounding their plans. 

Top Four Trend: Omnichannel Care (14)

While the industry has been slow to embrace Omnichannel Care (14), more health systems are starting to adopt new technologies, including digital transformation and omnichannel platforms. According to a survey that was published by Deloitte in late October of 2021, 60% of technology leaders at large health systems indicated that their organizations are only halfway through their digital journey. Additionally, two out of three respondents expect budgets related to digital transformation initiatives to increase over the next three years. This could indicate the emergence of more omnichannel options within the next few years. 

In 2019, Walmart unveiled its first health center and since then, has been boldly forming its omnichannel vision. In April of 2022, the retail giant announced its plan to open five additional clinics in Florida. Following Walmart Health’s partnership with Epic, an electronic health record platform, the retail giant plans to use this technology to more effectively treat patients both at clinics and via telehealth visits. By combining access to clinics and telehealth providers, Walmart Health is able to offer care seven days per week. 

Yet another example of progress within the omnichannel space is Aetna CVS. The payvider is offering in-person care solutions alongside virtual care options. In June 2022, CVS Health announced that it will be offering virtual primary care to Aetna members. While Aetna’s omnichannel plan previously centered around mental health services, the partnership with CVS Health may indicate a shift towards omnichannel care for primary care as well. 

Top Four Trend: Platform (1)

As our Selection Committee indicated, Platform (1) has been a bit of an enigma and can be interpreted in a number of ways. This is in part because the healthcare industry is late to the game in platformization. However, that may be about to change. 

In a recent article published by Forbes, the prediction is made that the next super-app will be healthcare-related. The article states that the transformation will be threefold: change the scope, embrace integration, and implement personalization. Consumers expect 365-day engagement, and thus, providers must change the scope from “providing healthcare” to “facilitating consumer health.” As for integration, the next super-app will need to connect with other platforms to promote interoperability and a seamless consumer experience. Finally, the app must implement personalization, which adds value to consumers by reminding them about prescription refills and other health-related protocols. 

One major player who is already making its mark within the platformization realm is Oracle. Following its recent $28.4 billion acquisition of electronic health records company Cerner, Oracle announced a new vision to build a national health record database, which would “pull data from thousands of hospital-centric EHRs.” Oracle’s chairman, Larry Ellison, cited that EHR fragmentation causes tremendous problems and intends that the database will tackle many issues related to lack of interoperability within the healthcare industry. 

Finally, the industry has made some strides in regard to platform-based care during the pandemic, with telemedicine being a huge driver in this transformation. However, there are tremendous untapped capabilities in terms of assets. According to Health IT Today, “30% of all global data is healthcare data” and yet patients are repeatedly providing the same information every time they see a provider. This arguably points to the need for digitization, interoperability, and platform-based care. While the platformization movement within the healthcare industry has been slow to start, there is undoubted potential along with plenty of opportunities for players within the industry. Keep an eye on this trend as it may be a strong contender in future brackets. 

Stay tuned for future posts and insights on the blog as well as LinkedIn