2018 has been a roller coaster of major acquisitions, mergers, disruptive technology, and even some disruptive clinical procedures. So, to help you navigate 2019 we’ve gathered together the data, the theories, and the trends that may impact your day-to-day.

Here are our 5 predictions for what 2019 has in store for the healthcare industry.

1.    Value-Based Care Technology

With almost 50% of the nation’s hospitals taking part in the CMS Hospital Value-Based Purchasing (VBP) Program, health systems must have tools in place to accurately track, measure, and predict the quality of care based on their resources.  The push towards standardizing is nothing new, but with new incentives CMS is predicting for hospitals this year, paired with rising cost pressures, the technology and talent hospitals bring in can mean the difference of a few dollar signs.  A few of the technologies gaining traction and making the quality of care more accessible are:

·      Voice User Interface (VUI)
·      Predictive Analytics
·      Quality Management Systems
·      Online Education/Competency Modules

2.    The Silver Lining 

By 2030, the expected Medicare enrollment is set to spike from 54 million to more than 80 million.  Having already touched on value-based care and the government incentives, the technology around caring for the mass influx of an older generation is going to impact not just how we care for seniors, but how the entire health environment caters to the geriatric population.

The term ‘Silver Architecture’ speaks to how some facilities are updating their environments to provide more accessibility to those with assistive devices and better lighting. But what about the surgeries, and instrumentation used in the cases, for seniors? The trend towards outpatient treatment has helped to decrease their hospital stay; but with new technologies emerging, we are likely to see stricter regulations and guidelines specific to the senior population.

3.    Shift from Big Data to Specialty-Specific 

We find it funny that throughout our research there are the inevitable predictions of leveraging analytics to better predict a patient outcome and the numerous services out there helping hospitals predict.  But with over 30% of healthcare costs lost to waste, very rarely do people call on the mass amount of data found in Sterile Processing and Supply Chain Management.

While we continue to serve our community with dynamic reporting and analytics tools, we have seen the shift from broad range report requests to client’s dialing into specific data points.  The shift (and the buzz) around big data will begin to decline as health organizations begin to identify and leverage the power of specialty-specific data.

4.    Changing Roles in the Hospital C-Suite

You may already be experiencing shifts in your hospital administration with, what seems like daily, health system integrations.  While we’re happy to see the joining together of services, we’re even more intrigued with the developments of new, innovative roles within hospital leadership.

Given data’s importance in both clinical and operational evidence-based decisions, responsibilities have evolved with 14% of hospitals currently employing a Chief Nursing Informatics Officer (CNIO).  This role is forecasted to rise over the next few years with the appearance of titles such as Director of Clinical Informatics, Nursing Informatics, and other technically informative based positions. The convergence of information, analytics, and clinical is currently a major gap in most health systems. While getting data into their system is key, being able to accurately extract the data from the system and work with it to give your organization answers is where the opportunities are endless.

5.    Amazon, Uber, Google, oh my!

We’ve seen the headlines “Hospital CEO Heads to Insert Major Tech Company”; but what impact do major technology giants have on the healthcare industry, Sterile Processing in particular? A lot.

Amazon has its hands in more than just Whole Foods and delivery. With its acquirement of PillPack in June 2018 to the deployment of an EHR-mining software this past November, Amazon is positioning itself to logistically run, and deliver on, anything and everything that has to do with health care. Instruments included.

Google also has players in almost every sector of the health industry. From Verily “a life sciences AI business that is building tools to gather and organize health data and translate it into insights that can both prevent and better treat disease,” to Google Fit’s wearables and their Google Glass (apparently alive and well).  While Google keeps their public statements focused on population health, don’t be surprised if you begin to see their business tools entering the Perioperative and Sterile Processing Department over the next few years.

And Uber. Currently not the best public reputation, which is why they may now be focused on providing their services to help those get to their doctor appointments and other medical-specific meetings. While this is a new service, and Lyft is catching on to, don’t be surprised if your next round of loaners is dropped off by an Uber driver.

As for our new year's resolutions? Our focus has not wavered from serving our community of caregivers, from Central Service/Sterile Processing (CS/SP)to the patient bedside.  Our relentless passion for improving patient outcomes through innovation drives us to deliver evidence-based solutions that work and enhance compliance with industry standards.

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