2014 was the year that one of the Affordable Care Act's main provisions - the healthcare exchanges - went into effect. That, along with the Sunshine Act that requires companies to disclose how they physicians and other changes has heralded a shift into a new healthcare paradigm.
What will 2015 bring? PricewaterhouseCoopers' Health Research Institute (HRI) published a report Thursday that identifies the top 10 health industry issues that will emerge next year. The report is based on an annual fall survey of 1,000 consumers and interviews with health industry experts.
Here is a slideshow of 10 charts to explain the key issues further:
1. Do-it-Yourself Healthcare
Patients are more empowered than ever before and want to have greater control of their healthcare. No longer is it sufficient to simply meet the doctor. And the healthcare industry has obliged by making apps and devices available to consumers directly - be it wellness apps, vital signs monitoring devices or at-home tests for urine analysis. HRI also finds that clinicians may be more open to adopting these new fangled devices and apps.
In the survey, one-fifth of consumers said they would use a home urinalysis device, compared to nearly half of physicians who said they would "use data from such a device to prescribe medication or decide whether a patient should be seen," the report found. In fact 20% of doctors said they routinely prescribe nutrition and weight loss mobile health apps to patients.
Given the interest of physicians and patients, the report recommends hospitals and other care providers to adopt and incorporate such DIY tools to boost patient engagement.
[Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com user A-S-L]