Perhaps no industry was as impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic as much as healthcare. In addition to caring for people stricken with the virus, doctors, dentists, and other healthcare providers had to adjust to providing routine care to patients fearful of spending time in a waiting room or having in- person encounters with nurses and doctors.

As a result, telehealth usage increased dramatically, and the new year is projected to bring a continuation of this virtual way of seeing patients. Below are four major trends healthcare providers can benefit from in the year ahead:

Growth in Telemedicine

The pandemic forced doctors and patients to dramatically redefine how care is delivered. And while virtual care was around years before Covid-19 struck, its usage skyrocketed during the pandemic. Now, as patients are returning to in-office visits, you might think that there’s little need to continue with telemedicine, but that would be a mistake. There will always be patients uncomfortable with waiting rooms and in-person encounters. Rather than lose them, the option of a tele-visit is a simple yet effective way to assure continuity of care, especially for patients who suffer from chronic conditions and require ongoing care. They are likely to comprise the majority of the population that will rely on telehealth in the years ahead.

More Outsourced Billing

Healthcare professionals retiring or moving out of higher-price urban settings are leading to fewer people in the field. A report by Mercer[1] shows that the number of physicians reaching retirement age will increase from 12% to 21% by 2026. As a result of these staff shortages, it might make sense to turn to outsourced medical billing. These billing companies stay up-to-date on the latest changes in regulations and requirements needed to submit claims to insurance companies. By outsourcing this arduous task, you can actually save money by focusing onpatients and not paperwork.

Expansion in Remote Patient Monitoring

The ability to treat individuals through digital devices is one of the fastest-growing and most exciting developments in healthcare. Rapid advancements in digital health solutions—portable heart monitors and apps that track blood pressure and sugar levels—means that doctors can see at a glance the vital statistics of their patients who are in the comfort of their homes. The convenience and consistency of remote patient monitoring are enabling doctors to improve patient outcomes by staying ahead of conditions that could potentially become life-threatening.

Improving Patient Engagement through Online Portals

The use of smartphones, laptops, and tablets for work, school and home has become second nature to nearly everyone. It makes sense then that patients would want to engage with their doctors in a digital way as well. Industry experts expect patient portals connected to a physician’s electronic health records system to be a growing trend in 2023. The software for these portals enables a patient to log into a doctor’s system to make an appointment, get a prescription reauthorized, or access tests and lab results—all actions that take a huge chunk of time out of a doctor’s working hours. When a patient can access the system at their convenience (no more waiting on hold), it makes them more satisfied, and it frees up doctors and their staff to spend more time with patients who are in the office.

Technology has been a game-changer in the medical field, and the advancements in digital care, billing, and patient monitoring are likely to transform the healthcare industry again in the new year.