4 Healthcare Trends to Watch for in 2021

The healthcare industry has rapidly evolved over the past few years with the implementation of telemedicine, improvements in technology and legislative changes. On top of that, the COVID-19 pandemic has drastically impacted how healthcare facilities assist patients and interact with the community. In 2021, we’re likely to see additional momentum in these areas. Here are four healthcare trends to track in 2021 and beyond.

(1) Increase in the Use of Digital Technologies


Patients have been increasingly relying on telemedicine as a means of receiving healthcare over the past few years. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), telemedicine appointments increased more than 50% during the first quarter of 2020 compared with the same period during 2019. This trend continued throughout the rest of the year.

Social distancing guidelines and patient preference are likely to contribute to the increase in telehealth services throughout 2021.

Improved Processes for Healthcare Providers

In addition to improving the patient experience, the digital transformation happening in the healthcare industry is anticipated to drastically change the way that healthcare facilities operate.

The ongoing digital transformation will allow for the creation of “smart hospitals” and healthcare networks. The transition to smart hospitals will allow healthcare facilities to use data and analytics to make improvements such as increased facility capacity; improved drug, resource and personal protective equipment (PPE) management; and better collaboration between healthcare facilities.

In addition, smart hospital technology will allow for better budgeting and forecasting. This can help reduce the strain on the healthcare system caused by events such as the current pandemic.

With the increase in telemedicine and other uses of technology, however, comes an increase in cybercriminal activity. Healthcare providers should take the opportunity to address security vulnerabilities in their IT systems to prevent cyberattacks and data breaches.

(2) Key Components of the Biden Administration Healthcare Agenda

The new presidential administration will bring proposed changes to the healthcare landscape. The Biden administration has set forth numerous agenda items impacting the future of the American healthcare system, including:

  • Expansion of components of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), including taxpayer access to government subsidies
  • Continued improvements to the FDA as it relates to the response to the COVID-19 pandemic and addressing healthcare disparities in the country
  • Reductions in the cost of prescription drugs through continued use of the Drug Competition Act Plan (aimed at increasing the use of generic drugs and other alternatives)

(3) Increased Collaboration With Community Leaders

Healthcare changes in 2021 will likely lead to increased collaboration between healthcare facilities and community leaders. The goal is to help to identify ways healthcare can better serve the population.

Rather than working as individual stand-alone facilities, hospitals and other providers are more likely to work as a part of a larger healthcare network. This is anticipated to introduce efficiencies in providing necessary services.

(4) Supply Chain Improvements

Healthcare and pharmaceutical executives are likely to focus on improvements to the supply chain going forward. More specifically, service providers will look for ways to diversify vendor options, improve supply chain transparency and increase the flexibility of healthcare providers to meet their resource needs.

It’s anticipated that the initial investment in supply chain improvements will lead to increased costs for the healthcare industry. However, the improved efficiencies will help reduce costs in the long term.

Do you have questions about healthcare trends in 2021 or other issues? Please reach out to our healthcare CPAs. They’re tracking these and other trends to help you stay informed.

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