What will the future of healthcare look like?
Healthcare has been slower than other industries to adopt digital technologies. Nowadays, however, more entrepreneurs are seeking startup funding to grow ideas that utilize technology to make healthcare cheaper, more efficient and more effective. As new digital healthcare trends begin to take hold, some experts believe the future of healthcare may look very different than it does today.
Venture capitalist Bryan Roberts, currently a partner at Venrock, spoke with Fortune about what healthcare trends investors should expect to see as time goes on.
Roberts explained there are a few trends just beginning to gain momentum, including alterations in doctor payment methods, the wiring of medical offices and the integration of smartphones as more professionals enter the industry who have grown up using technology their entire lives. Roberts said, however, that we have merely scratched the surface with these concepts, and he believes that over the next 10 years they will spark a "metaphorical avalanche" of change.
Another important healthcare trend Roberts emphasized is the increased financial responsibility being placed on consumers. Companies are no longer blindly accepting the costs of healthcare plans proposed by insurers. Rather, they are creating a "marketplace dynamic" by figuring out how to spend the least amount of money for the best possible care. In doing so, they are also giving their employees higher co-pays to encourage them to choose cheaper medical facilities.
The impact of young professionals
Vivian Lee, MD, PHD, CEO of the University of Utah Health Care, dean of the University of Utah School of Medicine and senior vice president for the University of Utah Health Sciences, told the Becker Hospital Review that the influx of millennial medical trainees has been a huge catalyst for the changes in the University of Utah Health Care system.
Lee said millennials value patient-centeredness, transparency and data-driven approaches to problem solving. She uses the term "millenification," to explain the University's development of modern initiatives that create better value for both doctor and patient. These initiatives include a Yelp-like online physician review system and a FitBit-like data tracking service that tells physicians how they are doing in terms of patient satisfaction and other important indicators of success.
There is a lot of potential for disruption in the healthcare industry. According to Roberts, improving preventive care must be a major focus moving forward. He is optimistic in its improvement, predicting that in 10-20 years there will 50 percent less hospital beds than there are now because people will be healthier.
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