Looking Ahead: 2021 Healthcare Trends and Predictions

News | January 28th, 2021

2020 will forever be one for the history books. Entering the year, our team was already laser-focused on value-based care (VBC), ensuring that throughout the transition to VBC, patient care remained at the forefront. A few short months later, COVID-19 hit, shaking up healthcare and accelerating healthIT adoption once and for all.

Our industry learned many valuable lessons in 2020 -- most for the better -- and as we enter 2021, we are once again laser-focused on achieving the quadruple aim in healthcare. Here’s how we can further improve health outcomes and drive transformation in 2021 and beyond:

Permanent Reimbursement for Remote Patient Monitoring and Telehealth

While it may have taken a global pandemic to do so, COVID-19 has exposed the strong need for permanent virtual care reimbursement reform with an emphasis on telehealth and remote patient monitoring (RPM). Throughout the pandemic, RPM technology was critically relied on by patients and healthcare providers alike, enabling ongoing monitoring of patients outside of the traditional clinical setting and eliminating the need for non-essential in-person visits, thus decreasing the chances of patient and provider exposure to COVID-19.

It’s critical that telehealth and RPM adoption and usage continues well into 2021 and beyond. And while the newly released 2021 Physician Fee Schedule does allow reimbursement for rural medical facilities to have continued access to care, CMS does not have authority to expand telehealth coverage beyond a rural benefit in Medicare permanently. A permanent expansion of coverage across the country will require an act of Congress. Policy decision makers can no longer ignore the benefits of virtual care. In order to continue our influence and drive forward this change, we must continue to lobby for permanent change.

The Need for Interoperability and Data Integration

Physicians have spoken. A recent study from Deloitte found that interoperability and optimized workflows were among physicians' biggest needs heading into 2021. In fact, 61% percent of physicians said their greatest need today is improving routine processes in clinical practice, and nearly 84% of physicians anticipate secure and efficient sharing of patient data. COVID-19 has made it clear that innovation is required to help physicians scale rapidly and quickly address patient demands – both now and in the future.

In March, Rimidi launched our novel Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) based Patient Reported Outcomes tool. The tool served as a building block for the integration of lab results with PRO data to track patient COVID-19 status, drive efficiencies in rapidly evolving clinical workflows, and support management of epidemics in our communities in the years to come. The tool’s success reinforces the healthcare industry's need for interoperability and stronger data-sharing rules to ease the flow of information.

Promoting Patient Equity and Encouraging Patient Education

While COVID shed a light on the benefits of virtual care, it also exposed inequities in our healthcare system in underserved and rural areas. Today, there is an urgent need to expand the use of digital health to help vulnerable populations who still require routine care in the face of a pandemic. Digital health could be a great equalizer, providing opportunities for all people to receive care.

This also requires us to further empower patients to become more involved in their overall health outcomes, and to educate them about the tools available to them. Whether digital health education is administered through a community center, pharmacy or primary care doctor, we must start by providing a framework with which providers can meet patients where they are.

In order to truly drive change in our industry, we all must work together to achieve new heights. In 2021, Rimidi will be further enhancing its platform to better support changing patient and provider needs.

To stay abreast of this news and information, visit our blog or contact a member of our team today.