What will shape the future of healthcare?
The healthcare industry continues to evolve, driven by advances in technology and changing patient expectations. As a result, there is growing attention on the role of policy and legislation in shaping the future of healthcare. In 2023, we can expect to see a continued focus on Health IT policy and legislation aimed at improving the use of technology in healthcare and delivering high-quality care to patients.
From promoting interoperability and telehealth to addressing data privacy and security, and reducing healthcare fraud, there are many areas where policy and legislative changes are expected in 2023. These changes have the potential to transform the way healthcare is delivered, making it more efficient, effective, and patient-centered.
In addition to promoting the exchange of electronic health information, there may be efforts to standardize the format and content of health data, to improve the accuracy and usefulness of the information. This could include legislation requiring the adoption of specific data standards, such as the Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) standard.
Reference: The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) is one of the leading organizations working to promote interoperability in healthcare. The ONC has published numerous resources and guidelines on the topic, including the Interoperability Standards Advisory.
In addition to promoting the use of telehealth, there may be legislation aimed at reducing barriers to its adoption, such as licensing requirements for healthcare providers and reimbursement for telehealth services. Policymakers may also take steps to address privacy and security concerns, such as requiring the use of secure video conferencing technology and ensuring that telehealth services are subject to the same privacy and security standards as in-person care.
Reference: The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has been a strong advocate for telehealth, and has taken steps to promote its use, including providing reimbursement for telehealth services. For more information, see the CMS Telehealth page.
3. Data privacy and security
In addition to strengthening privacy and security protections, there may be efforts to improve transparency and accountability for organizations handling health data, such as requiring regular reporting on data breaches and the steps taken to prevent them. There may also be legislation aimed at giving patients more control over their health data, such as allowing them to access their data and easily share it with other healthcare providers.
Reference: The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is responsible for enforcing privacy and security standards for health information. The HHS has published numerous resources and guidelines on these topics, including the Health Information Privacy page.
4. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
In addition to funding research and development and creating standards for the use of AI and ML, there may be efforts to ensure that these technologies are used ethically and responsibly, such as by requiring transparency in their decision-making processes and limiting their use in sensitive areas like diagnosis and treatment.
Reference: The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is one of the leading organizations working to advance the use of AI and ML in healthcare. NIST has published a number of resources on these topics, including the NIST AI/ML page.
5. Healthcare fraud
In addition to improving fraud detection and prevention, there may be efforts to increase the penalties for healthcare fraud, such as by increasing fines and jail time for individuals and organizations found guilty of fraudulent activities. There may also be legislation aimed at preventing fraud in the first place, such as by requiring regular audits and improving the accuracy and completeness of health data.
Reference: The Department of Justice (DOJ) is responsible for investigating and prosecuting healthcare fraud. The DOJ has published a number of resources and guidelines on healthcare fraud, including the Healthcare Fraud page.
6. Prescription drug pricing
In addition to addressing high drug prices, there may be efforts to increase transparency in the drug pricing process, such as by requiring drug manufacturers to justify their prices and disclose any discounts or rebates. There may also be efforts to increase competition in the drug market, such as by allowing the importation of lower-cost drugs from other countries or encouraging the development of generic alternatives.
Reference: The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) are two of the leading organizations working to address high drug prices. For more information, see the HHS Prescription Drug Pricing page and the FTC Prescription Drug Pricing page.
Health IT policy and legislation will play a critical role in shaping the future of healthcare, and 2023 promises to be a year of important changes in this area. From improving interoperability and telehealth to addressing privacy and security and reducing healthcare fraud, these changes have the potential to transform the healthcare industry for the better.
If you are involved in the healthcare industry, it is important to stay informed about the latest policy and legislative developments and to actively participate in shaping the future of healthcare. This might include advocating for changes that will benefit your patients, staying up to date on the latest technology trends, and engaging in discussions with policymakers and other stakeholders. By staying engaged and informed, you can help ensure that the future of healthcare is one that is patient-centered, efficient, and effective.