Trends in healthcare administration: Part 1

We asked our Zintro experts to comment on the growing trends in healthcare administration and management. Many responded with a diverse range of thoughts, opinions, and ideas. Take a look.

George Diamantidis, an expert in health and life sciences management, says growing trends in healthcare continue to be high costs and growth in spending. “Health spending continues to rise faster than the economy as a whole and faster than workers’ earnings. In fact, high premiums and out-of-pocket health care costs are the American public number-one health care concern,” he says. “The fastest-rising component of health spending in recent years has been insurance administrative overhead.”

Diamantidis says the strategy for achieving savings from high expenditures can be clustered in the following areas:

  • Create better information and greater competition for markets;
  • Decrease high insurance administrative overhead and increasing competitive prices;
  • Promote efficient and effective care;
  • Establish primary care that is centered around your customer (patient);
  • Invest in healthcare information technology; and
  • Improve the healthcare system by investing in access, affordability, and equity.

The global perspective of healthcare administration and management is changing, too. “In China, health insurance has evolved from a predominately public insurance system to a multi-payer system. In Germany, to control costs, the system employs global budgets for the hospital sector and places annual limits on spending for physician services. In 1990s, Germany adapted new legislation to promote competition among sickness funds. Less than 0.2 percent of Germans are uninsured. In Canada, it has resorted in regionalization by creating administrative districts within each province,” Diamantidis says.

Karin Gallet, an expert in healthcare operations, says that healthcare is facing fundamental changes in its business model due to legislation and consumer demand. “The nature of these changes, and the resulting growth trends, are vastly different for each industry segment: providers of care, payers of care, and the multiple layers of administrative entities that exist between care givers and care consumers,” she says. “Demographically, opportunities can be found in the aging population, who demand optimal health as long as possible. Growing old gracefully is not considered the virtue it was once, and quality of life improvements for older consumers will continue to emerge as a significant industry opportunity.”

Gallet says that demands for improved technology will continue to spur opportunities for the healthcare administrator and manager. “Providing new, state of the art pharmaceuticals, diagnostic equipment, and treatments will continue to be a source of new revenue streams and business opportunities. However, cost containment and the social demand for universal access are primary forces that often oppose technological advances and traditional healthcare business models. This presents different opportunities for expansion in areas such as home health care and community based care. Keeping the elderly and infirm in their homes is cost effective and improves quality of life when properly managed. Disease management, providing treatment oversight for chronic illnesses, is a trend that will mainstream throughout healthcare in the years ahead,” she says

Lastly, medical tourism and outsourcing, providing healthcare at a location away from the consumer’s home country, are trends that will see significant attention in the future. “Global healthcare can provide consumers with options for innovative care at attractive prices if universal quality standards can be established. The opportunities for healthcare management in this area are vast: outsourcing and contracting care management and diagnostic services, accrediting and assuring quality at worldwide facilities and clinics and facilitating travel and healthcare abroad for consumers are just a few,” says Gallet.

Jv-3V-Medical, an allied health professional, believes that a growing trend is to help healthcare professionals practice more uniformly in terms of referring to evidence based interventions when treating clients. “There has been a mentality of ‘This is what I’ve always done and it works and that is why I continue to do it.’ This thinking is without regard to what research may indicate about a particular treatment,” he says. “We need to have professionals put their knowledge and experience to work while ensuring that patients can get consistently high quality care among various healthcare providers. And, we need tools as clinical pathways to make sure there is a measure of that consistency.”

JV-3V-Medical says the trend needs to continue as insurance companies and consumers examine the care that is provided and compare it to information that is accessed over the web. “This scrutiny of practices may make competition for payment more intense. We will not only have to market to patients the services we provide but also market services and methods to payers to prove interventions work,” he says.

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