The American healthcare industry is enormous and consistently growing. Industry forecasts predict that it will grow to $8.7 trillion by 2022, up from $7 trillion in 2015. Pharmaceutical companies will be the largest beneficiaries of this growth.
However, even with this exponential growth and opportunities, the healthcare industry is not without challenges. These challenges result from the changing landscape of healthcare due to the COVID-19 pandemic, changes in patient preferences, and technological advances. Many of these challenges will continue to affect the industry in 2022.
Healthcare Industry Challenges for 2022
The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic encouraged the widespread adoption of telehealth. The move saw technology grow from 11% in 2019 to 4% in 2020. Future ramifications of the pandemic are still uncertain, and the industry might continue to develop telehealth solutions.
Unfortunately, telehealth currently faces significant challenges and will likely extend to 2022. Experts warn that telehealth presents a potential digital health bubble and faces an uncertain regulatory future.
This approach to health care services will create a gap because it can’t replace face-to-face interactions in some instances. Patients with Alzheimer’s and dementia and senior citizens in need of specialized care may benefit from telehealthcare.
Digital tools used in telehealthcare must prove efficient, especially in cases that require higher understanding. The industry has yet to figure out how to extend telehealth to the populations possibly requiring it, creating a systemic issue.
Inefficiencies in Research and Testing of New Drugs
New drugs and medications go through a long research and testing process before they come into the marketplace. A growing encounter surrounds the inadequacies in researching and testing new medicines. The problems range from compliance issues to missing set deadlines.
Non-compliance is especially a costly issue in most prominent healthcare organizations. The costs involved vary from $10,000 for corrective or preventative measures to between $20 million and $100 million for implementing changes after receiving a warning letter.
Rising Healthcare Costs
Healthcare costs have been on the rise for decades and keep increasing. For example, in 1986, analysts in the healthcare industry predicted that healthcare spending would reach 14% of the nation’s GDP by 2000.
In 2001, the spending stood at 14.1% and would rise to 17.7% by 2012. This trend has not changed, with health expenditures reaching about $1.4 trillion in 2019, representing 31% of overall health spending. The forecast showed that spending would be more than $4 trillion in 2020.
Factors that affect the cost of healthcare include:
- Aging seniors
- A growing population
- Medical service utilization
- A growing population
- Service price and intensity
The increased need for testing, treatment, and care for COVID-19 will cause the cost of healthcare to increase. About 50% of the population has avoided or postponed medical care because of COVID-19 related concerns. This has exacerbated an already severe problem, increasing overall healthcare costs, as delays make some diseases costlier to treat.
Changing Healthcare Policies in the Developing World
There is a rapid change of healthcare policies in developing markets worldwide. In the US, the guidelines include the replacement of existing legislation and regulations. There’s also a growing political divide, contributing to uncertainty about the future of US policy.
Some policies that could significantly impact the industry include:
- Association health plans
- Block grants
- Medicare and Medicaid buy-in
- Short-term policies
The greatest challenge is that slower management teams must move faster to stay ahead of the policy changes. Doing so will help them remain competitive and retain their access to the market. It’s one of the challenges that the healthcare industry must address to succeed in the future.
At Valet Health, we are always on the lookout for what’s happening in the healthcare industry. Connect with us on our blog for more insights and the expected changes.