With the pandemic altering the world more dramatically than ever before in recent decades, 2022 is truly expected to be ‘the year of change.’ This is particularly true for the healthcare domain in Utah and across the United States as a nation.
We, however, would be focussing on the key dynamics in Utah State’s healthcare environment in 2022 here to start gearing up for all that’s needed and on the line in the coming months:
- Trend #1 – Medicaid Expansion
In Utah, the Medicaid expansion began on January 1, 2020. The primary care network waiver was amended to expand Medicaid eligibility to 138% FPL. This expansion would impact the entire healthcare ecosystem with major influence on healthcare organizations as now more people in the state would be accessing healthcare services.
Hence this means that the facilities should gear up for an influx of patients. They should prepare to make the required changes without giving in to quality degrades.
A direct result of this expansion has also been in smaller medical centers merging with other facilities for discharging the demanded specialty services. For instance – In southern Utah, the small hospitals have merged with the University of Utah Health and Intermountain Healthcare.
Thus the essential preparatory efforts have either already been taken up by healthcare organizations across the state or will increasingly be adopted by others shortly to meet the increased influx the Medicaid expansion would bring upon.
- Trend #2 – Boom of Telehealth
One pronounced change that all have experienced during this last year has been seeking medical help and Telehealth appointments from home and online. To give it some statistical validation, let us observe the case of CommonSpirit – one of the USA’s largest healthcare organizations. It conducted a whopping one million+ virtual visits in 2020 alone (as admitted by its CEO).
Since patients are now habituated to these fairly convenient and speedier consultations, we can expect the reliance on Telehealth to continue in Utah in 2021.
- Trend #3 – Increased Focus on Mental Health
Mental health is one of the biggest problems across the world today. As a result of COVID-19, this issue has exacerbated, with a large proportion of the nation’s population suffering from anxiety disorder on-sets.
In Utah, as of November 23, 2020, 38% of its inhabitants complained of these symptoms. Thus, the state’s healthcare ecosystem must now re-address the number of initiatives and personnel assigned for treating mental-health-related problems in 2022.
- Trend #4 – Dealing with a Pent-up Demand
With so many people having had COVID in the past year, there is a growing need to treat the pandemic-related bodily complications and side-effects. Vaccination and prevention efforts have started in full gusto and would only increase as the year moves forward.
To meet such aggravated demands, the state must ensure sufficient resources at all times. This is more crucial for Utah specifically, as its health systems are already under strain, and the state must double the efforts now.
- Trend #5 – Re-focusing on Primary and Preventive Care
Patients who have been ignoring their health for the past year, thanks to the pandemic – cancer screenings, diabetes consultations, dental care, etc., would now be encouraged to take up once again under the preventive-based measures in 2022.
Yearly or bi-annual routine checks, periodic heart health tests, etc., would be planned once again. This would have an influx of patients treading to the healthcare facilities seeking immediate diagnosis and treatments.
The state’s healthcare centers can build specific strategies and teams to particularly focus on this and get the patients to address all the healthcare issues they’ve overlooked in the past year.
- Trend #6 – Tech-based Healthcare
The boom of technology, biotechnology, augmented reality, and its counterparts in enhancing healthcare, R & D, and especially for creating vaccines and drugs has been one of the most significant developments in Utah’s healthcare system.
This is bound to go even further, breaking all previous records. Thus centers need to hire those trained to incorporate the all-crucial tech-side to keep up with the moving scenario.
Electronic health care records, data-backed operations, virtual reality treatments, and more will need to be focused on in 2022 alongside other traditional medical strategies.
- Trend #7 – Greater Employment Opportunities
All in all, the burden that the pandemic has brought upon Utah’s healthcare system means more jobs for healthcare staff, doctors, nurses, and medical assistants. Thus, many younger professionals or the ones just starting their careers would be entering this in-demand industry and upskilling for the same along the way.
The state’s younger generations or those looking to shift occupations to the medical stream can prepare for these opportunities with specialized certifications in healthcare.
For instance, pursuing CMA certification in Utah state would be promising to get a firm hold on the career-opportunities these trends are set to create in 2022.
- Trend #8 – Focus on Ethnic or Income-based Disparities
Even though these background-related differences existed in the healthcare services offered to the people before the pandemic, COVID-19 has made these disparities more apparent to the eye.
The nation has witnessed people suffering and some even more because of the income or racial background they came from. Thus a key focus for healthcare facilities would be to address these disparities and ensure clear access to all irrespective of their distinct backgrounds.
Healthcare in Utah would also be focusing on the affordability factor to ensure all can get the quality care they need. Thus the Utah healthcare system in 2022 should prepare for these by strategizing healthcare solutions that will be less expensive on the pocket and would be more value-based.
Therefore, while there have been apparent changes in how healthcare in the state would traditionally operate, most of the latest trends are based on COVID-19 related outcomes. The state has a new administration that is expected to conclude improved healthcare priorities. However, the key focus in 2022 would be to deal with these increased demands in services, primarily routing via the pandemic itself.
We need to join our endeavors to deal with and win over all the health-related issues and complexities COVID 19 has cast on Utah State – gradually but strong and efficient – this is what most of 2022 would be about in the realm of State healthcare.