The US population is growing and aging. The volume of patients and the prevalence of chronic conditions are rising. Payers and providers alike are feeling the strain of healthcare’s antiquated system and the damaging effects it has on quality of care and revenue.

As a result, the US healthcare market is going through a much-needed transformation. There’s a surge in M&A activity that has stitched together companies across different healthcare sectors. For example, CVS and Aetna have merged, and Amazon has entered the market with its acquisition of PillPack. Apple has introduced sharing capabilities for its apps and wearable products.

In the coming year, these moves into healthcare will force HCOs to adjust their focus and become customer-centric. HCOs must prioritize patient experience, accelerate digital transformation, harness data, and evolve business models strategically to stay relevant over the next decade in the face of increasing competition and evolving patient expectations.

In 2019, we expect these triggers to spur the innovation that healthcare has needed for years. We’ve put together our most important healthcare predictions for 2019 to help HCOs prepare. We predict that:

  • Traditional feedback methods will take a back seat to data-driven approaches. HCOs have a reputation as laggards when it comes to CX, but we expect to see the integration of new CX metrics to improve the patient experience. While traditional methods won’t be thrown away entirely, the use of real-time feedback and insights will come to the forefront of CX strategies in healthcare. New measurement techniques will drive enhanced digital and in-person experiences, which patients and employees have craved for years.
  • HCOs will invest in virtual care to meet the patient where they are. Forrester found that 55% of HCOs are making a new investment or increasing investment in virtual care technologies.[i] Virtual care will be crucial to patient acquisition and retention. In the age of the customer, patients seek personalized and convenient care. They will not tolerate an aggravating, time-consuming experience when options that fit their needs are just a click away.
  • The use of AI in healthcare will proliferate but go unnoticed by patients. In their quest to improve experiences and outcomes, payers, providers, and life sciences organizations will invest in AI. Due to an influx of available data, HCOs will integrate readily available AI to generate valuable insights. Without making its presence known to patients, AI solutions will affect the lives of customers. Chatbots will support providers. Advanced analytics will aid call-center agents.

As changes in the healthcare market elicit uncertainty, firms will need to identify and access the most relevant data, test new technologies, and rework their operating models based on insights. As disruption in healthcare accelerates, HCOs must stay hyperfocused on customer experience, data, and new technology or risk getting left behind.

Download Forrester’s Predictions 2019 guide to understand why 2019 will be the year that transformation goes pragmatic.

Have questions about Forrester’s healthcare predictions? Reach out to Arielle Trzcinski, Faith Adams, Kjell Carlsson, or Martha Bennett for inquiry here.

[i] Source: Forrester Analytics Global Business Technographics® Priorities And Journey Survey, 2018