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Thought Leaders: Trends for 2022

Pam Nicholson was featured in the November/December edition of MCOL Thoughtleadersnewsletter. The question asked was:

“What healthcare trend(s) for 2022 have captured your attention the most and why?”

The public’s health and healthcare equity are likely to continue to be high visibility issues for the healthcare market in 2022 as we emerge from the COVID-19 Pandemic. The cost of caring for socially vulnerable populations, many of whom have complicated medical and mental health conditions, can be enormous: an estimated 59% higher cost of care, 79% higher hospital admissions, and 100% higher emergency room utilization than the population as a whole according to recent projections from software analytics leader Carrot Health. As a result, healthcare equity is a growing focus of government programs, with state Medicaid programs leading the way in terms of innovation with a particular focus on targeting the social determinants of health. Health systems can participate, collaborate and invest in the work to improve overall health in the communities they serve by adopting a person-centered approach to population health coupled with the integration of physical and behavioral health to reduce health disparities and control the cost of care. New IT platforms under development in many states will provide a means of digitally connecting healthcare providers and community social service organizations and reshape the continuum of care.

Another major issue for 2022 planning will be the need to develop new forms of provider relationships in an era of value-based contracting and innovative government programs. These efforts will include the integration of digital applications, virtual care, and wearables necessary to provide the connection to patients at any time and any place. Contracting capabilities will continue to be expanded to respond to the challenges and opportunity created by the increasing transparency of prices required in the commercial market. Large health systems have had these capabilities— in 2022 it will be more important than ever for smaller hospital systems to add this expertise in competitive markets.

Creating durable physician and medical group practice alignment and relationships in time of increasing private equity and competitor physician roll ups will be another contemporaneous issue in 2022. The creative development of innovative partnerships may be a way of offsetting focused competitors trying to disintermediate the relationship between providers and their customer base.

Health Care Systems that serve many communities must be willing to customize solutions allowing for each community hospital to be the pillar of health for those they serve. Health Systems will need to allow for innovative partnerships with payers, providers, and start-ups. They will need to understand digital transformation and the impact it will have on health. As we are coming through the pandemic the need for integrating community resources to address food, housing and financial well-being will be essential to their success. To stay leaders in the transformation of health care, health systems must engage with their communities as never before.

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