Top 5 Challenges Facing Healthcare Leaders in 2020 and Beyond

Top 5 Challenges Facing Healthcare Leaders in 2020 and Beyond

The US healthcare sector was valued at $3.5 trillion in 2017, equivalent to almost 18% of the country’s GDP. As operating costs increase there are many challenges that healthcare providers and their business associates must overcome. The future of healthcare depends on the ability of practitioners to adapt quickly to the constant changes facing the market and solve increasingly complex issues brought about by factors like information security and disruptive new technologies. But while these hurdles exist, new technologies also bring many new opportunities that can improve patient care and increase efficiency.

Here are the top 5 challenges that healthcare leaders will face in the coming years:

#1. Rising healthcare costs

As people live longer and the population continues to grow, the cost burden on healthcare will only rise. Healthcare leaders are now finding themselves facing increasing pressure to regain control over their expenses without compromising the well-being of patients. Technology offers many of the answers by automating repetitive and time-consuming administrative tasks and providing decision-makers with more secure and useful ways to use patient health information.

#2. Frequent regulatory changes

Compliance in the healthcare sector tends to be a bureaucratic minefield in which no one seems to have any idea what the situation is going to look like in a few years. But one thing is certain, disruptive new technologies will create new vulnerabilities that cybercriminals can exploit. This is why institutions must refine security policies and employ more stringent measures to protect patient privacy. To prepare themselves for an uncertain future, healthcare leaders must adopt the principles of information privacy and security by design and strive to stay one step ahead of the demands of regulators and patients alike.

#3. Disruptive new technologies

While we have modern technology to thank for the fact we live longer and healthier than ever before, there’s also no denying that new technologies introduce new risks. Disruptive emerging technologies, such as machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), can greatly improve efficiency and patient care, but hackers can also exploit them to carry out increasingly devastating attacks. There’s also a growing tendency to self-diagnose with AI-powered devices, a dangerous practice that healthcare leaders must fight and eliminate through proper patient education.

#4. Workforce shortages

The healthcare sector has long had a problem with staffing, and the shortage of qualified and skilled workers is only getting worse, and the increasing importance of technology is a double-edged sword. While technology introduces many benefits, it also requires expertise to implement and maintain, yet few healthcare organizations can afford the six-figure salaries of executive-level IT personnel. To innovate faster and allow payroll departments to focus on attracting and retaining healthcare professionals, organizations are looking toward outsourcing their IT departments instead.

#5. Lack of technology alignment

Technology isn’t getting any simpler behind the scenes, even if end-user experiences are. At the same time, constant disruption in the sector is making it harder for healthcare leaders to select, implement, and maintain the right solutions. Often, making the wrong choices can leave healthcare practices in a worse situation than before. This fact illustrates the growing need for organizations to achieve alignment between technology and operational goals. To make that happen, executives need industry-specific guidance to make the choices that will lead to better patient care, decreased burden on employees, and greater control over costs.

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