The Top Healthcare Trends to Watch in 2019

Dawn Pascale


The constant in healthcare for 2019 is change. While the paradigm shift from volume to value is still sorting itself out with federal regulators, other trends will take center stage in 2019. From technology innovation, increasing costs, and skilled labor shortages, to population health, 2019 is predicted to be transformational for healthcare leaders and the patients they serve.

Five Predictions for the New Year

Wolters Kluwer Health teamed up with Becker’s Hospital Review to make five key healthcare predictions for the new year. They include both operational and systematic changes that will disrupt the field

1. C-suite hospital roles will change.

Because technology has evolved from the server to the front of care delivery, hospitals will continue to change C-suite job descriptions. Becker’s predicts more Chief Data Analytics Officer and Chief Innovation Officer roles will be created. The CNO role will spawn Chief Nursing Informatics Officer positions that measure technology impact on patient populations. Look for the role of the pharmacist to also change, with more organizations adding a Chief Pharmacy Officer tasked with reducing drug spending into the mix.

2. Drug spending will be targeted for reduction.

With healthcare costs predicted to grow 5.8 percent annually through 2025, hospitals are searching for new ways to cut costs. According to the Becker’s article, drug spending has reached $3.3 trillion annually in the U.S. and prescription drugs are one of the fastest-growing cost centers in the industry. In 2019, look for hospitals to seek to cut down on medications that lack high clinical efficacy. Look for an increase in generics and further emphasis on cutting antibiotics as well as opioid prescriptions.

3. Skilled nursing shortage will intensify.

As the baby boomers age, the need for skilled nurses will intensify. Educational institutions will feel pressure to attract and train clinical teams. Hospitals and other skilled nursing facilities will be forced to take on new partnerships and creative approaches to attract and retain top talent.

4. Artificial intelligence tools will change care delivery.

Technology breakthroughs will help hospital personnel combat some of their most challenging clinical issues, from superbugs to sepsis. Remote monitoring tools that track patients in their homes and transmit data to a cloud dashboard will be in use across most specialties. Wolters Kluwer predicts that machines will grow increasingly predictive, allowing clinicians more accuracy in preventative treatments. At-risk populations will be educated via the virtual digital visit to cut down on hospital readmission penalties.

5. Patient engagement will personalize population health initiatives.

Population health initiatives will finally accelerate this year, with technology as the driver for increasingly personalized and engaging patient care. Healthcare will become as close as your favorite handheld digital device, as increasing telehealth adoption will popularize the virtual doctor house call.

The healthcare paradigm is shifting again. These new challenges will require new partnerships. Fortunately, finding talent with the skills you need in today’s evolving medical landscape is just a phone call away. MedSource Consultants connects the top medical talent in the field with new opportunities in healthcare. Contact us to start the conversation.