December 29, 2022

Deloitte surveys 2023 outlook for healthcare systems, plans

Editor's Note

Hospital leaders are preparing for what is expected to be a turbulent 2023, according to results of a December 13 survey from the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions, reports December 19 Healthcare Purchasing News. The majority of health system leaders said that staffing challenges (85%) and inflation (76%) will significantly impact on their 2023 strategy. Leaders also anticipate affordability issues for patients, shrinking profit margins, and continued supply chain issues going into the new year. Deloitte also polled health plan executives to find out which trends they thought would have the biggest impact on their strategy in the year ahead. While health plans also face challenges related to rising inflation, they are generally in a stronger financial position than hospitals and health systems.

Four forces likely to impact healthcare systems, health plans in 2023:

Inflation and affordability:  76% of health system leader respondents thought inflation would have a significant impact in 2023. Rising cost-of-living expenses could cause some people to delay routine and preventive care, which could worsen health issues and lead to higher medical expenses. While most health system leaders surveyed said that inflation would have a major impact on their 2023 strategy, it could be less of a factor for health plans. However, the trickle-down effect of health care pricing will likely mean that health plans could feel the effect in following years.

Digital transformation: High costs of capital could make it difficult for healthcare organizations to embrace new technology. Only 29% of health system respondents said accelerated digital transformation would likely have a major impact on their organization’s strategy in 2023, while 63% thought it would have a moderate effect. For health plan executives, however, accelerated digital transformation is expected to have a “great impact” (43%) or a “moderate impact” (50%) in 2023.

Shrinking margins: Many health systems are still recovering from low patient volume and revenue while costs for supplies and labor are rising. Many patients continue to delay non-emergency procedures, which impacts profit margins. Additionally, an increasing number of patients are shifting to ambulatory centers over hospitals for surgical procedures. This might not be sustainable for many hospitals and as a result,  some hospitals might get acquired or will be forced to close their doors.

New payment models and alternative sites of care: Transitioning to new payment models, such as value-based care (VBC), was seen as the top priority among health plan executives surveyed for 2023. Hospitals and health systems, on the other hand, will be more focused on mitigating financial challenges in 2023. That could make it difficult for health plans to move their network providers into new payment models.

Read the Deloitte release.

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