Luciano Lozano. 'Be the bonsai.'

Luciano Lozano. ‘Be the bonsai.’

Happy New Year, one and all! I hope that it’s a healthy one for you.

Since we’re here at the beginning of 2016, it’s time again to look at some predictions I made about health care in the U.S way back in 2013 (also revisited a year ago).

  1. Obamacare will move ahead. Despite 2 different hearings before the Supreme Court and dozens of repeal challenges, the Affordable Care Act stands.
  2. Medicine will enter the era of ‘Big Data.’ Anyone seen those TV ads for ‘Optum,’ (to name just one big data player)? We are already here.
  3. Big data will lead to targeted medical marketing. This wasn’t even a prediction. It’s already been happening for years.
  4. Greater price transparency will come to health care. Not really close to cracking this nut, but a lot (a ton!) of attention is now focused this way.
  5. By 2020, all states will have expanded Medicaid. We are already to 30 states plus the District of Columbia. More on the way.
  6. The number of uninsured will be cut in half within four years. Not quite there yet, but the number of uninsured is the lowest since 1972.
  7. The number of NPs and Physician Assistants will continue to grow, as will the field of community health workers. Yes and yes.
  8. We will see the first nationwide health plans. Yes — the key word here is consolidation — insurers, hospitals, etc.
  9. Finally, a continuous doctor-patient relationship will become a luxury that can be purchased. Everything keeps pointing in this direction.

I’m giving myself a solid seven out of nine this year, up one from last year — and the remaining two predictions are also likely to prove true over time.

One area not covered here that will continue to see explosive growth: Telemedicine. It’s the Wild West. Which company will emerge as a market leader? Stay tuned.