INTERNATIONAL RESEARCH & OPINION
Regulatory and Healthcare News
'Megatrends'to reshape the future US healthcare system
There are a number of significant healthcare trends that are likely to playa role in reshaping the future financing and delivery of US healthcare, predicts Dr Timothy Covington from the Managed Care Institute and Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama, US.
He suggests that some of these 'megatrends' will include the following. Heatthcare payers will become more prudent purchasers of
products and services, and will increasingly direct patients towards more cost-effective, outcomes-oriented providers.
Local heatthcare providers will be further integrated into mega-regional networks.
Employers will seek direct negotiating and contracting opportun~ies w~h local providers, leading to the emergence of more and stronger business alliances.
Employers will focus efforts on preventive care and wellness initiatives w~h the aim of reducing costs and improving quality of life.
There will be an increase in the number of US citizens w~h minimal or catastrophic heatthcare insurance.
Managed-care organisations will offer more chronic care programmes, such as home and hospice care.
The principles of managed care will increasingly be used in the Medicare and Medicaid populations.
By 2002, the increasing number of patients aged> 50 years will increase the demand for heatthcare service to the extent that these patients will account for nearly 80% of all heatthcare expend~ures.
High-tech interventions, particularly in the field of information systems, will be adopted by all heatthcare organisations.
There will be a growth in mail order pharmacy, automated dispensing and physician dispensing.
Health care megattmds for strategic thinkers. Joumal of Managed Care Pbannacy 4: 31. Jan-Feb 1998 -.07,
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