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PricewaterhouseCoopers' Top 10 Healthcare Trends for 2010


See below ... the top 10 healthcare trends to expect in 2010, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers.

According to David Chin, MD, partner and leader of PricewaterhouseCoopers' Health Research Institute, the primary emphasis for healthcare organizations next year will be on reducing costs and creating greater value in the health system. This focus "will have a domino effect from one sector to another and redefine roles, responsibilities and relationships," Chin said....

PricewaterhouseCoopers' Health Research Institute publishes its list of top healthcare issues annually... the top 10 issues are:

1. Expect industry-wide, intense efforts to reduce healthcare costs by hospitals, physicians, other providers, payers and employers.

2. If Congress passes healthcare reform legislation – as it hopes to do – expect major adjustments that would include insurance market and payment reforms, the addition of dozens of new agencies and grant programs, reimbursement and pricing pressures, increased oversight, tax changes and the overall implications of increased coverage and consumer demand.

3. Physicians and providers will be scrambling in 2010 to adopt healthcare IT to reap bonuses in 2011 under the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act/ARRA .

4. Expect greater emphasis on fraud and abuse recovery. The Obama administration has boosted its fraud and abuse budget for 2010 by 50 percent, and a significant portion is dedicated to prosecution and enforcement.

5. Technology and telecommunications sectors will become leading players in healthcare. With a huge boost from the 2009 stimulus package for broadband funding and healthcare IT expansion, technology and telecommunications companies are aggressively capturing a growing share of the healthcare business.

6. The role of pharmaceutical and life sciences companies will evolve from manufacturer and supplier to full partner on the healthcare delivery team as its focus shifts from lab-based outcomes to promoting prevention and patient outcomes.

7. Physician groups will join health systems – the percent of hospitals employing physicians has nearly doubled since 1994, and PWC expects the trend will continue in 2010 as physicians seek greater stability and electronic connectivity.

8. Alternative care delivery models will emerge as traditional care delivery models will give way to alternative models of care outside of physicians' offices and hospitals. Expect to see an increase in the number and scope of services offered by work-site and retail health clinics and home health services as well as other technology-enabled delivery such as e-mail, telehealth and remote patient monitoring.

9. H1N1 elevates emphasis on readiness for public health outbreak – another wave of H1N1 flu in 2010 will put pressure on healthcare organizations, public health officials and employers to re-evaluate readiness for a major public health outbreak.

10. Community health becomes new social responsibility – in 2010, a new social responsibility for community health will emerge among employers, healthcare leaders and community leaders, with a major boost in funding from the government.

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