Major Trends in Healthcare that will Affect Providers in 2024

Photo of physician using a laptop

The last few years have been financially challenging for healthcare providers across the board, but there are reasons for optimism as we begin 2024.

Financial recovery: In November 2023, hospital operating margins stood at 2%, a significant improvement from -0.3% the prior December, according to Kaufman Hall’s December issue of the National Hospital Flash Report.

At the same time, revenue per adjusted discharge increased while total expense per adjusted discharge decreased month-over-month and year-over-year, signs that point to a financial recovery in the healthcare industry, and reflect the efforts organizations have made to deliver care in the most effective settings, according to the report.

Despite these positive trends, the year will no doubt bring certain challenges for healthcare providers and require them to continue balancing the delivery of high-quality patient care with the need to maintain financial and operational efficiency. Following are a few of the major trends impacting providers (and the U.S. health system, in general) in 2024:

Technology integration to help bridge the gap: Artificial intelligence, automation, and solutions that offer tight integration with electronic health records (EHRs) systems will be high on many healthcare provider organizations’ investment priority lists to increase worker efficiency and handle administrative tasks, enabling team members to focus more on face-to-face time with patients.

Increased preventive care focus: Just 8% of Americans undergo routine preventive screenings, according to an estimate in The Journal of Big Data. These missed preventive care visits have the effect of significantly driving up costs across the health system by allowing avoidable complications to escalate into chronic conditions. However, as more patients realize the value of obtaining preventive care, healthcare providers will gain new opportunities to drive better patient engagement and higher-quality outcomes.

Long-term financial challenges in healthcare: Margin increases are great – but don’t breathe a sigh of relief just yet. Despite the much-needed margin improvements noted above, many long-term financial challenges in healthcare remain on the horizon for providers. For example, rising costs for labor and a range of supplies, including pharmaceuticals, will continue to take a toll on operating income, with rural hospitals and the communities they serve at the greatest risk.

Despite some challenges ahead, the trend in healthcare shows that providers have more and more innovative solutions at their disposal to help position them for long term success.

Visit TrustCommerce to learn more about the ways technology can improve the patient financial experience.

Related Content