From in-person visits to telehealth and from fee-for-service to value-based care, healthcare is changing. A growing demand for qualified healthcare leaders in recent years has demonstrated the need for personalized patient experiences and higher levels of care. The medical field needs business leaders in healthcare to work with health systems and policymakers to make clinical care more accessible and improve patient outcomes.
Leaders in healthcare should have not only a clinical background but also a strong foundation in business practices. Earning an online Master of Business Administration with a healthcare concentration can prepare individuals to innovate and collaborate in the medical field.
Current Issues and Trends in Healthcare
While issues in healthcare — such as disparities in access, cost, and communication — existed before COVID-19, the pandemic has prompted healthcare providers to address specific aspects of these areas.
Professionals who have extensive knowledge of business and healthcare can help by coming up with long-term solutions to current issues rather than relying on temporary solutions that have worked during the pandemic. Here are some issues and trends that leaders in healthcare currently face:
Since the pandemic has required people to socially distance and self-isolate, telehealth medical appointments increased by 154% in March 2020, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The Benefits of Telehealth
Many people have not been able to visit their primary care providers during the pandemic, so they rely on phone calls or video chat visits instead of regular checkups. Telehealth has become a popular option. The CDC notes, “Telehealth policy changes might continue to support increased care access during and after the pandemic.”
Leaders in healthcare note that patients are now favoring phone or video calls with primary care providers over more traditional visits. According to a 2020 research study by Amwell, “Telehealth usage is up considerably in 2020, with 22% of consumers and 80% of physicians having a virtual visit this year, up from 8% and 22%, respectively, in 2019.”
Additionally, about 91% of patients said they were “very” or “somewhat” satisfied with telehealth visits, and about 83% of patients expected to continue using telehealth even after the pandemic.
Potential Drawbacks of Telehealth
However, despite some of the advantages of telehealth, providers are concerned about a few barriers. Not everyone has access to a strong internet connection, a digital device, or a computer with up-to-date software. Patients may not have smartphones with the necessary applications, or they may be unable to navigate online functions.
Medical facilities and physicians may also experience obstacles to getting telehealth up and running, as not every provider has access to efficient technology.
Overall, healthcare leaders, such as administrative managers, examine all sides of telehealth, weigh the benefits and drawbacks, and determine how they will proceed with it in their facilities.
Value-Based Care vs. Fee-for-Service Care
The cost of healthcare to consumers has been an ongoing issue for several years. Until recently, physician compensation tended to reward quantity over quality.
Physicians who are paid by patients, healthcare billing systems, and insurance companies through a fee-for-service (FFS) system have an incentive to care for as many patients as possible and offer each patient a variety of services — even unnecessary ones — because they charge patients for specific types of care, such as appointments, tests, prescriptions, and treatments.
The Disadvantages of Fee-for Service Care
The healthcare industry has been slowly moving away from FFS care. Why? Leaders in healthcare realize that FFS care incentivizes providers to suggest additional visits or treatments that may be costly and unnecessary for patients.
Sometimes, the highest level of care actually calls for fewer services, at a lower cost to the patient.
The Advantages of Value-Based Care
On the other hand, a value-based care system emphasizes quality of care over quantity. Different healthcare policies, such as Medicare/Medicaid, support value-based care. The Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), for instance, can reward healthcare providers who increase positive patient outcomes while working efficiently.
Value-based care is patient-focused. The approach reimburses providers for better patient outcomes and overall health. Providers make treatment plans for patients, work with them through the process, and then issue a single bill when they’ve recovered.
DECO reports that organizations that use MIPS and accountable care organizations (ACOs) offer financial incentives to “motivate healthcare providers to work together to give longer-lasting, more meaningful care and build closer relationships with their patients.”
Business Leaders in Healthcare: Medical and Health Services Managers
Issues such as telehealth and value-based care are an integral part of today’s patient experience; they require business leaders in healthcare to have critical thinking skills and problem-solving competencies. Healthcare leaders, such as medical and health services managers, have significant responsibilities. They must be aware of all sides of an issue and make well-informed decisions that will have a positive impact on medical facilities, clinical staffs, and patients.
Leaders in healthcare who recognize trends, such as the increased use of telehealth, can prepare staff members for change. Implementing new policies is an essential job duty of a medical and health services manager. Making financial decisions, another important job duty, includes adopting a value-based care system versus an FFS system.
The healthcare field is constantly evolving, and as a result, the job outlook is promising for professionals in clinical and administrative positions. For example, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects the employment of medical and health services managers will grow by 32% between 2019 and 2029, which is much faster than the average growth for all occupations (4%).
Earn Your MBA With a Healthcare Concentration
A career in healthcare leadership as a medical and health services manager can be rewarding. The healthcare field relies on its business leaders in order to thrive financially while giving the best care possible. Healthcare leaders make decisions, establish policies, and create new standards for greater healthcare accessibility, lower costs, and higher-quality care.
If you’re interested in becoming a leader in healthcare, consider earning St. Kate’s online Master of Business Administration degree with a healthcare concentration. Learn more about how the program can provide you with the business, technology, communication, management, and leadership skills you need to serve patients and providers in the healthcare industry.