Luckily, 2020 is coming to an end… and many of us are probably ready to happily put it behind us.
But what’s in store for us in the year to come? After all the things 2020 has put us through, many of us can’t help but look at 2021 with a mixture of skeptical anxiety and hopefulness. Because the truth is that we have no idea whether things are going to get better or worse… but we hope better. To help our readers understand what they should look forward to in the new year, here is a list of things specialty practices should expect in 2021.
COVID-19 Will Still Affect Our Lives for Much of 2021
2020 might be ending soon, but the COVID-19 pandemic will go on (for at least a while) into the following year. While new vaccines are being approved and should start to be delivered in the coming weeks, it will still be some time before everyone has the opportunity to be vaccinated. According to some estimates, the U.S. may not be able to return to “business as usual” until roughly August of 2021.
Telehealth & Connected Care Expansion Will Continue
A recent Center for Connected Medicine survey of healthcare executives found that nearly half (49 percent) of respondents claimed virtual care was a top innovation priority, a significant rise from the 26 percent of executives who made this claim in the survey they conducted prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
While COVID-19 was the catalyst for the sudden and extreme expansion of connected care solutions, that does not mean telehealth will end with the pandemic. Many expect that telehealth and connected care solutions will continue to become increasingly common and will be seen as an expected option by patients from any healthcare provider.
In-Person Care Will Start to Return
Since healthcare workers will be among the first to receive the new vaccines, this should help any patients who are still reluctant due to fear of infection to begin feeling more comfortable with coming to practices to receive in-person care.
Interoperability Will Be a Big Focal Point
Back in March 2020, the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released its Final Rule on Interoperability as part of the next phase of the 21st Century Cures Act. Many of the provisions in this rule will go into effect in 2021, so expect to spend at least some of next year getting ready to meet these new requirements, especially when it comes to Information Blocking.
A Shift to Greater Price Transparency
The CMS has already called on healthcare systems to increase price transparency by January 1, 2021. And for good reason. One survey found that 74 percent of consumers would rather pay $50 out of pocket than to not know the cost of a visit. This proves that patients not only want price transparency, but they are willing to pay for it. As a result, providers should expect to see an even wider push for greater price transparency in 2021.
As the new year approaches, let us meet it with hope and a newfound sense of responsibility to one another. Sure, 2020 has been bad… okay, it’s been really bad. However, there is a light at the end of this tunnel in 2021. We can get there.
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