Here’s How Emerging Healthcare Trends Are Affecting Physician’s Jobs

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It’s a startling fact to consider, but recent studies have shown that the pace of our technological advancement has become increasingly difficult to keep up with. And even those attending college and learning new skills may be a step behind upon graduation.

Those attending medical school may feel the full impact of rapidly advancing technology and healthcare trends. And this is because as it takes nearly a decade to complete medical school, much of what you learn in the beginning may become less relevant, especially when considering future healthcare trends. 

It’s often said that today’s emerging healthcare trends will be tomorrow’s standard practice. And as we’ve seen the healthcare industry changed just in the last few years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we can expect even more trends to follow.

Here, we’ll explore a few future trends in the healthcare industry and how these are affecting the careers of medical professionals

Telemedicine & Telehealth

Perhaps the largest and most obvious trend that has changed the way both doctors and patients interact is due to the rise in telehealth and telemedicine. In addition, telemedicine is also offering doctors a distinct employment advantage as well.

But what exactly does telemedicine treat? As this is often a point of confusion, telemedicine is normally used to treat minor to moderate illnesses and health conditions. A few further uses of telemedicine are as follows: 

  • Management of chronic conditions
  • Follow-up visits 
  • Medication management 
  • Consultations 
  • Prescribing medications 
  • Psychiatric evaluations 
  • Diagnosis of skin conditions 
  • Suicide prevention 

As mentioned, many doctors are seeing the potential of telemedicine as an additional income stream through services such as Teledoc and American Well. These companies offer doctors a “freelancing” opportunity and facilitate a streaming service which connects doctors to patients around the country. As such, even though a doctor may be employed in a hospital or a clinic, he or she may also moonlight as a teledoctor as well. 

Aging Populations 

It’s no secret that the Baby Boomer generation is reaching its golden years. And in the next decade, all Baby Boomers will be over the age of 65. This also means that the healthcare system may become even further inundated with patients needing treatment for chronic illnesses than it has seen already.

Additionally, doctors are also aging. And the Association of Medical Colleges has projected that there will be a shortage of over 120,000 physicians within the next decade. 

All of this indicates that there will be an increased demand for doctors and other healthcare professionals for the foreseeable future, which is good news if you’re in medical school or if you’re looking to advance your career in medicine. This also means that healthcare professionals will have to work with other specialists much more frequently in order to handle an increased patient load. 

If you’re looking to enter the healthcare industry, the demand is certainly there for work. But you must also be aware of the massive workload that is just around the corner if future projections stay their course.

Rising Costs 

We’ve all seen the cost of just about everything skyrocket since 2020. And while inflation may be a huge burden on everyone’s wallet, it’s also affecting the way physicians get paid.

Doctor’s see patients for many reasons, everything from finding the right running shoe to running tests to screen for viscous cancers. But one thing remains common in this vast mix–all doctors want to get paid, and they want to get paid fairly.

The fact is, with rising costs impacting everything from groceries to insurance costs, many people are finding it difficult to pay for care, and this is especially true if a patient doesn’t have insurance. 

As a result, many physicians are looking into value-based care models. Whereas in the past most physicians were paid based on the quantity of patients they cared for, more are turning toward embracing incentives for the quality of care they provide, i.e., the value of the care is where compensation is being driven from. 

Value based care models offer incentives for more efficient care, and will also penalize a medical professional for not reaching targeted goals. But as this system is fairly new, it may be some time before value based care becomes a standard across the industry. 

It’s often said that today’s frown is tomorrow’s smile. But when it comes to health trends, anyone considering entering into the healthcare profession should become familiarized with what’s moving the industry forward, and with what’s keeping it from advancing.

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