A Year In Review: 2023 Trends and Challenges in Healthcare with a Glimpse of What’s to Come
The 2023 healthcare industry was shaped by various trends, challenges, and developments, establishing the backdrop for an optimistic 2024
The year 2023 seemed to slip by in the blink of an eye but not without bringing changes that will leave a lasting impact on the healthcare industry. From the expanding role of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and ChatGPT technology to the ending of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE), many noteworthy developments made 2023 a year to remember. Although ongoing financial challenges and repercussions from the pandemic continue to plague the industry, 2024 holds great promise for a future in healthcare filled with innovation and transformative solutions.
2023’s industry-altering trends and topics
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and ChatGPT
Launching in November of 2022, ChatGPT is an “advanced language model that leverages deep learning techniques to produce human-like responses to natural language inputs.” Why is this tool transforming the healthcare industry? The National Library of Medicine (NLM) reports “the potential applications of ChatGPT in the medical field range from identifying potential research topics to assisting professionals in clinical and laboratory diagnosis. Additionally, it can be used to help medical students, doctors, nurses, and all members of the healthcare fraternity to know about updates and new developments.” Though ChatGPT can reduce the time, energy, and resources healthcare professionals dedicate to providing exceptional care, it doesn’t come without limitations and ethical concerns. The NLM notes the importance of recognizing the useful tool may also:
- Infringe upon copyright laws
- Give inaccurate results
- Provide biased and harmful results
- Struggle to differentiate between reliable and unreliable
- Produce irrelevant references
AI didn’t only make waves in the 2023 healthcare industry with ChatGPT. Forbes reports AI-driven solutions are now “being used as virtual assistants to help schedule appointments for patients, provide next-step guidance, or even offer basic healthcare information.” In the next year, finding the right balance between the capabilities of technology and the role of providers and caregivers will be key to revolutionizing hospital and health system operations.
COVID-19’s Lasting Impact
In 2023, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the end of the Covid-19 national emergency that began in March 2020, discontinuing the use of some waivers for federal health programs.
By early 2023, a World Health Organization (WHO) pulse survey found health systems were beginning to recover from the pandemic with countries reporting “reduced disruptions in the delivery of routine health services.” However, those same health systems also highlighted the need to invest in recovery and stronger resilience for the future. In fact, of the countries surveyed, three quarters reported that the COVID-19 pandemic required them to reallocate funding in their budgets for:
- Longer Term System Recovery
As health systems press forward in 2024, establishing solid, preventative measures across the enterprise will be essential for a full recovery and a more resilient future.
Even before COVID-19, the healthcare industry was experiencing an increase in worker shortages, but the pandemic exacerbated the problem with nearly 20% of healthcare workers leaving their professions as of 2020.
In 2024, the healthcare industry anticipates intensified staffing challenges due to the shrinking workforce meeting the increased service needs of baby boomers. Estimated at around 76 million people, the aging population will be in need of more frequent medical care, amplifying the industry’s demands.
Hospital Financial Performance
According to the American Hospital Association (AHA), “nearly every metric of hospital and health system financial health declined in 2022,” creating a challenge for recovery in 2023. Despite these difficult circumstances, a glimmer of optimism emerged in October of 2023 when Kaufman Hall reported that hospital financial performance was stabilizing with margins beginning to trend upward.
“This period of relative stabilization is the time for hospitals to re-engage in capital planning efforts,” said Erik Swanson, Senior Vice President of Data and Analytics at Kaufman Hall. “Hospitals may be feeling reluctant given the last few years, but those that wait may find themselves falling behind their competitors and missing out on key opportunities.”
CMS Price Transparency Enforcement
In 2023 the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) rolled out new policies requiring providers to make information regarding charges and pricing easily accessible to consumers. CMS has provided technical support to help hospitals reach full compliance with these new requirements, but despite the assistance, as of April 2023 reported they had:
- Issued more than 730 warning notices
- Requested 269 Corrective Action Plans (CAPs)
- Imposed four noncompliance violations
In 2024, price transparency in health systems will likely remain a popular topic as CMS acknowledges enforcement must be consistent, stressing they will “take aggressive additional steps to identify and prioritize action against hospitals” that are lacking required pricing information.
Looking ahead to 2024
An Improved Patient Experience
With the rise in popularity of wearables and other mobile technologies, the time has never been greater for the healthcare industry to improve the patient experience by embracing preventative self-care. By 2030, the patient engagement market, which includes wearables, educational resources, and mobile apps, is expected to surpass $69.25 billion. To compete in 2024, hospitals and health systems need to develop a strategic plan for integrating these data-driven technologies.
Additionally, reducing friction points for patients by simplifying processes through solutions like automation can create a seamless experience, encouraging consumers to return for care.
Optimizing Efficiency with Cloud Technology
The U.S. healthcare cloud computing market is positioned for impressive growth in 2024. At a value of $5.29 billion in 2022, the market is expected to soar to $26.2 billion by 2032. Cloud technology can help facilitate better patient care by making historical and new data rapidly accessible, playing an essential role in modernizing operations.
The benefits of using cloud technology to simplify the management of incoming and outgoing faxes alone can have a profound impact. As healthcare organizations continue to seek cost-effective solutions in 2024, cloud technology is the smart choice for providing personalized care and optimizing operations.
2024’s Growing Competitive Landscape
By 2030, a significant change is expected in the healthcare landscape as nontraditional primary care providers are anticipated to make up a third of the market. To stay competitive, healthcare organizations will need to evolve their reimbursement, care, and ownership models, while additionally maintaining a:
- Heightened focus on specific populations
- Broader adoption of multidisciplinary care teams
- Growth of alternative sites and channels of care
With big tech companies like Apple and Google continuing to target healthcare in 2024, traditional health systems will need to keep patients engaged and happy by harnessing technology to provide customized, precise care.
Solving Staffing and Financial Challenges
The healthcare industry has faced persistent challenges with staffing shortages and financial struggles. However, automation stands out as the solution for solving these obstacles and many others. Hospitals and health systems can achieve a quick ROI and reduce their repetitive, manual tasks by introducing automation in the front end of the revenue cycle.
In 2024, health systems leveraging automation to handle manual tasks will enable their staff to concentrate on enhancing patient care and delivering excellent financial results.
How Vyne Medical Can Help
Currently serving a growing base of 800+ hospitals and healthcare systems nationwide, our solutions can help you solve challenges and reach new heights in 2024. As a leading healthcare-centric workflow tool for managing disparate communication transactions for both unstructured and structured data, Vyne Medical’s Trace® platform prevents lost revenue and refines workflows.
With our Trace platform, your health system gains a central repository for storing documented events and information directly tied to the patient record, simplifying the retrieval of patient audit trails through quick access to fax, image documents, and audio recordings.
We also empower your teams to efficiently manage large volumes of sensitive and urgent communications through our healthcare-specific Refyne® Cloud Fax platform as it:
- Reduces fax infrastructure and hardware maintenance
- Streamlines communication
- Customizes enterprise-wide both clinical and non-clinical workflows
- Expedites the delivery of faxes through Real-Time and Encrypted Exchange Networks
- Serves as the fax engine for the EMR
Additionally, in 2024, we can elevate your health system’s productivity, precision, and employee satisfaction through an investment in our practical automation solutions. When implemented in the front end of the revenue cycle, you enhance administrative processes and:
- Lower labor costs
- Streamline workflows
- Increase case cycle times
- Improve case documentation
Let us optimize your health system operations in 2024. Learn more about Vyne Medical’s patient-centric cloud and automation solutions at https://vynemedical.com/.
Want to dive deeper? Read more on the topics covered in this blog:
- Harnessing the Advantages of Cloud Fax in Healthcare
- How a Growth Mindset Can Drive Automation Success in Healthcare
- Webinar: Perspectives on CMS Proposed Requirements for Enhanced Interoperability
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“Fact Sheet Hospital Price Transparency Enforcement Updates.” CMS.Gov Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, www.cms.gov/newsroom/fact-sheets/hospital-price-transparency-enforcement-updates.
“Healthcare Cloud Computing Market – Global Market Size, Trends Analysis, Segment Forecasts, Regional Outlook 2022 – 2030.” Precedence Research, www.precedenceresearch.com/healthcare-cloud-computing-market.
“Hospital Financial Health: A Rocky Recovery: AHA News.” American Hospital Association | AHA News, www.aha.org/news/blog/2023-09-27-hospital-financial-health-rocky-recovery.
Hospital Price Transparency: Progress and Commitment to Achieving Its …, www.healthaffairs.org/content/forefront/hospital-price-transparency-progress-and-commitment-achieving-its-potential.
“Medical Careers in High Demand in 2024 – Healthcare Staffing.” Momentum Healthcare Staffing – Medical Staffing Agency, 9 Nov. 2023, momentumhcs.com/medical-careers-in-high-demand-in-2024/.
“New Survey Results Show Health Systems Starting to Recover from Pandemic.” World Health Organization, World Health Organization, www.who.int/news/item/02-05-2023-new-survey-results-show-health-systems-starting-to-recover-from-pandemic.
Ney, Erin, et al. “Primary Care 2030: Innovative Models Transform the Landscape.” Bain, 21 July 2022, www.bain.com/insights/primary-care-2030/.
“Patient Engagement Solutions Market to Surpass USD 69.25 Billion by 2030: Research by SNS Insider.” GlobeNewswire News Room, SNS Insider pvt ltd, 15 May 2023, www.globenewswire.com/en/news-release/2023/05/15/2668905/0/en/Patient-Engagement-Solutions-Market-to-Surpass-USD-69-25-Billion-by-2030-due-to-Increasing-Demand-for-Better-Patient-Outcomes-and-Growing-Healthcare-Consumerism-Research-by-SNS-Ins.html.
Rainford, Seth. “Council Post: What Is the Impact of Artificial Intelligence on the Healthcare Industry?” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 7 Nov. 2023, www.forbes.com/sites/forbesbusinesscouncil/2023/11/06/what-is-the-impact-of-artificial-intelligence-on-the-healthcare-industry/?sh=6e2256222d78.