Regardless of wherever it is that you may currently be in your medical career these days, chances are you’re already noticing that the overall landscape of healthcare itself is changing at a rather rapid pace. In terms of politics, voters are also getting divided on all sorts of issues as it relates to healthcare as well, including Medicare-for-all, which is a plan touted by potential 2020 Democratic presidential nominees Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. Additionally, there are also some states throughout the country who are choosing to expand Medicaid to their residents, while others across the country have taken the alternative step to provide residents with healthcare options that are much more affordable in nature.

Politics aside, there are other specific preferences that are likely to impact many of the top healthcare trends throughout 2020.

Here are four of the biggest healthcare trends that are expected to impact physicians in the coming year.

One of the most important trends is consolidation, which sees small hospitals being acquired by larger healthcare systems, as well as private practices selling ownership to hospitals or other larger-sized practices. This is generally done as a way to help re-focus energies on caring for patients. Oftentimes, these moves are seen as indicating better care for affordable prices; however, it is also sometimes seen as a form of monopoly with industry giants seeking to claim the largest overall share.

Transparency is another important trend that is expected to impact physicians. With consumers always searching for care online and basing all of their choices on reviews, care availability, and transparently published pricing, the end result is generally an increased amount of reliance on urgent care providers and retail clinics that give larger-sized practices a run for their money. Additionally, some physicians are also choosing to add urgent care services to their practice while, alternatively, others are choosing to offer mobile consultations.

Another trend that physicians need to watch for is staffing shortages. This is because doctors and nurses are retiring at a rate that’s faster now than they are being replaced, which is causing a staffing shortage across the entire board. Additionally, technology-based services that are able to connect both physicians and nurses to more temporary, as-needed positions result in many candidates doing away with a more normal practice in favor of more freelance work.

Another trend that will end up impacting physicians is the shift to value-based care which, generally defined, is an alternative to fee-based care involving a physician or hospital getting compensated in relationship to outcomes as opposed to the amount of services that are provided. A handful of value-based models have already been introduced that are designed to hold physicians accountable and promote much better care, as well as improve overall population health and reduce the costs of healthcare. This system, however, does have its own share of problems, such as medical professionals potentially feeling compelled to order further tests and labs as a way to help demonstrate the overall efficacy of their treatment plans.

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