Posted on 12/18/2015

By Jason Beem, General Manager, Healthcare

Throughout 2015, we’ve seen a number of changes in the U.S. healthcare industry. Most of these changes continue to stem from the Affordable Care Act, as organizations find ways to adapt to the changing market. On top of that, the aging population – with 10,000 baby boomers retiring each day in the U.S. – contributes to an increased need for healthcare services.

For healthcare IT, particularly those that work in our industry of asset, real estate and facility management, this poses several challenges that we see will come to the forefront as driving trends in 2016.

For instance, we’ll continue to see the consolidation and mergers of hospitals and health networks. This has been an ongoing trend for several years, but it’s poised to continue in 2016 as healthcare providers seek ways to improve the level of care that they offer their patients. Managing real estate and facility portfolios becomes even more complex, requiring real-time visibility into the portfolio at all times.

Regulatory and compliance requirements will continue to drive priorities within the industry. In 2015, there have been several hospitals that have received hefty fines for not being in compliance with Stark Law and, as a result, the focus from adhering to requirements set forth regulatory bodies will only continue to grow. Leveraging IT solutions to manage specific lease requirements will simplify the process and make it easier to adhere to changing rules and regulations.

The face of healthcare will continue to transform. We saw the rise of emergency and urgent care centers several years ago to meet the growing demand for quick services for health issues in an emergency. As our healthcare system grows to focus more on preventive health, these locations will only continue to grow in popularity. A surge in wellness centers, designed to help people proactively manage their health, will be a key driving trend for the healthcare industry in 2016, and beyond.

On top of that, technology will continue to evolve. The equipment we use for diagnostics will become more complex; the medical devices will focus on smarter technology to enhance our ability to know what is exactly going on in our bodies.

Just like the technology that we use to manage our health issues will become even more advanced, so will the technology that we use to manage our assets, real estate and facilities portfolio. Building automation systems, which serve as the central control for building heating, ventilation and air conditioning, will increasingly rely on sensors to alert facilities teams to minute differences in temperature to conduct maintenance before they become reactive issues.

In addition to that, transforming data into information will help healthcare organizations become smarter as they manage their assets, facilities and real estate. Leveraging extensive reporting options will help meet regulatory and compliance requirements, but beyond that, it will help healthcare organizations understand where they can garner the greatest productivity gains and even see how to better use funding to maximize investments, both from a strategic and tactical perspective.

Overall, 2016 will be an exciting year for the healthcare industry. While these trends will present challenges for healthcare organizations, they will inevitably make our healthcare system stronger and improve the quality of patient care.