2018 was a huge year for healthcare. The trends continue in 2019. Himachal Mukhopadhyay discusses.
Healthcare is without a doubt one of the most important industries in the country. For the United States, the healthcare industry has been at the center of economical and social discussions for the better part of a decade, and it all came to a head in 2018 with a series of announcements of massive changes which shook the healthcare industry from the core upwards. This trend has continued into 2019, and we’re now seeing the effects of these trends coming into effect. Below, with the help of Himachal Mukhopadhyay, we’re going to discuss what these trends are and what both patients and payers can expect as the year progresses.
Digital adoption and robotic process automation
According to Himachal Mukhopadhyay, robotic process automation and digital adaptation are changing the landscape of healthcare across the board. The reason for this has to do with the fact that robotic process automation allows professionals to automate low-level tasks so that they can reserve their concentration for higher-level, more complex tasks. These tasks include inputting data and other monotonous, routine jobs. It is hoped that this will allow doctors and other medical professionals to free up their time for more pressing, engaging and intellectually heavier work.
Electronic medical records
According to Himachal Mukhopadhyay, electronic medical records of EMRs, have been quite widespread and available for sometime now, so the acquisition and introduction of them is nothing new. However, throughout 2019 we’re going to start seeing some of the benefits of having EMRs around. This means that doctors will instantly have access to a patient’s medical history at the touch of the finger, enabling them to provide better, more-informed healthcare than they would have been previously been able to.
AI is the buzzword on everyone’s lips, and that includes the healthcare industry. According to Himachal Mukhopadhyay, recent progressions in artificial intelligence are set to have a massive impact on the healthcare industry. For example, in countries where doctors aren’t readily available, artificial intelligence will be able to be used in order to accurately diagnose patients in the absence of trained professionals.
Enhanced focus on security and compliance
As with many other processes in 2019, there has been an increased focus on enhancing security and compliance throughout the healthcare industry. As data becomes an evermore valuable commodity, pains must be taken to keep this data safe. This is especially true for doctors who wish to communicate swiftly and securely while still adhering to compliance. Because compromised systems can also cause a complete failure of a healthcare electronic records system, it’s imperative that security and compliance to regulations are the strongest they can possibly be.
Healthcare mergers are becoming ever more popular. Himachal Mukhopadhyay discusses some of the top mergers of 2018.
While we might one quarter of the way through the new year already, it’s important to acknowledge all that happened in the previous year with regards to healthcare mergers. Throughout the whole of 2018, the healthcare industry – in particular the finance sector – saw a hefty increase in mergers as both insurers and providers sought to pool resources in order to achieve greater scale and provide more cost-effective treatment across the board. And while this strategy is set to continue across the board in 2018, we, with the help of industry expert Himachal Mukhopadhyay wanted to highlight some of the biggest and move pertinent mergers of 2018.
Advocate Health Care and Aurora Medical Health Care
Two giants of the midwestern healthcare system, Advocate and Aurora made plans to merge in late 2017, and in the spring of 2018 the merger was complete. According to Himachal Mukhopadhyay this merger has created a new system which now employs over 70,000 people and has generated huge amounts of new revenue. One of the aspects which streamlined the process was the two giants agreeing to use the electronic health record system, allowing both healthcare systems to easily share information.
CVS and AETNA
While this particular deal hasn’t gone through yet, it’s currently waiting for the go-ahead from a federal judge. After months of reviews from relevant agencies and state bodies, the pharmacy chain and the insurance company finally got the green light and closed on the merger. According to Himachal Mukhopadhyay, this merger is a landmark in healthcare – the reason being the enormous $70 billion price tag attached to it, as well as the significant impact which it is going to have on healthcare. It’s expected that the scope of the merger will influence other companies to consider similar integrations.
The Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Lahey Health
Both based in Massachusetts, these two healthcare systems received the green light to merge in October. It’s big news for the state, as this new system comprising 13 hospitals is expected to provide $71 million in care to communities which previous lacked any regular health service or infrastructure. Looking ahead to the future, it’ll be interesting to see how this merger plays out across the board towards the end of 2019.
Cigna and Express Scripts
After receiving approval from the State of New Jersey, Cigna and Express Scripts sealed their merger deal on December 18. The merger, which saw Cigna Corp acquire Express Scripts, was one of the largest of its kind, totaling over $67 billion. The deal gives Cigna more control and will allow it to lower the cost of prescription drugs for customers.
It’s something which a lot of professionals in the healthcare industry are concerned about: mergers within the healthcare industry as a whole; both payers and providers being brought together by one company. Critics say that such a move will create a monopoly within the healthcare system, causing prices to inflate across the board and ultimately hit the patient the hardest. Proponents of the system, however, aren’t so quick to judge. There are a number of advantages that come with merging, they argue. Regardless of whether it’s a good or bad move, the question is why, and with the help of Himachal Mukhopadhyay we’re going to take a look at the answer.
The reason for mergers
According to Himachal Mukhopadhyay, the reason for mergers isn’t quite so black and white. There are a number of different reasons – all of varying levels of complexity – why mergers happen and why payers and providers are willing to merge. For starters, smaller hospitals as well as non-profit organizations actively seek out mergers in order to survive in an ever-tougher and more expensive industry market. Many nonprofits are actually reducing less profitable services and expanding on more profitable ones in order to stay afloat. According to Himachal Mukhopadhyay, mergers are one way of ensuring that these smaller establishments stay open, especially during tough times. Mergers provide hospitals with more current technology and infrastructure, and ensure that they have access to more readily available medicines.
Another reason for mergers has to do with the new emerging model of healthcare. Himachal Mukhopadhyay states that because of dwindling government reimbursements and having to cover uninsured patient expenses, hospitals are being forced to look for alternative ways of affording and managing quality care. Mergers are one way in which these hospitals can afford it while also giving them breathing room to experiment with new forms of healthcare which ultimately might lower costs across the board. It’s expected that this trend will continue and that payers and providers will continue to merge in order to build comprehensive care organisations.
Mergers are also a way for hospitals to shoulder the burden of financial risks on behalf of patients. This means that patients will have greater and broader access to healthcare and that both payers and providers will be able to continue providing quality healthcare to communities.
Mergers and acquisitions directly affect care and patient access to it. Is this a good idea? Himachal Mukhopadhyay discusses the pros and cons.
Merging of healthcare payers and providers undoubtedly impact both the cost of care and patient’s access to it and according to industry insider Himachal Mukhopadhyay, it’s important to have a clear view of the impact in the long run.
It’s a question which has a considerable debate across the medical industry as a whole, putting antitrust laws as well as current care models into the spotlight, and determining whether their future is viable.
Healthcare Mergers Increasing
According to numerous sources, healthcare mergers between payers and providers is on the rise. Up 13 percent more in 2017 than in 2016, these mergers have prompted fierce debate within the industry about what this means for the future of healthcare, for payers, providers, and patients.
There are both pros and cons. Pessimists of mergers think that massive healthcare mergers mean that there are fewer options available when it comes to choosing healthcare payers and providers. This limits competition, which in turn stifles innovation and prevents prices from dropping. Ultimately, if this creates a healthcare monopoly, it will hit the patient the hardest, leading to massive cost increases and lower rates of access.
Gregory Curfman, MD, assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, agrees.
“When individual hospitals merge into larger systems, they gain a larger share of the consumer health market,” Curfman wrote in an article for a Harvard Health blog. “That puts them in a position to ask health insurance companies to pay more for medical care and procedures.
These higher prices are not borne by the insurers, but by consumers in the form of greater premiums. Thus, some economists argue, mergers drive up health care costs and place added financial pressure on consumers.”
Supporters of healthcare mergers, however, say that the outlook isn’t as dark as others make it out to be, and professionals such as Himachal Mukhopadhyay believe it’s important to see both sides of the debate.
Mergers, they argue, are necessary to weather the changes which are currently affecting the industry as a whole, throughout the country, and that by consolidating resources and businesses, they will be able to provide more effective healthcare throughout the country while keeping a cap on spending.
They also claim that structural changes to healthcare institutions could lower costs, meaning that patients will ultimately pay less.
Feel like your soccer skills have plateaued? Up your game with these tips from Himachal Mukhopadhyay.
Like any sport or skill, improving your soccer game is all about practice. Most kids get their start by playing ball with friends, or running some simple drills in their backyard. And while this will definitely get you started in the game and go a long way to equipping you with the physical chops and stamina needed to play soccer, it’s never going to be enough for you to master the finer aspects of the game. Improving your soccer skills requires having intricate knowledge about the fundamentals of the game, as well as having a plan in place to improve. Below, with the help of soccer enthusiast Himachal Mukhopadhyay, we’ll take a look at a number of different techniques you can utilize to improve your game.
Soccer is an incredibly physically intensive sport and requires a player to have impressive cardiovascular training in order to participate throughout the entire game. According to Himachal Mukhopadhyay, conditioning yourself to run for long periods of time is key to being a consistently effective player. If you’re not fit enough to play for the entire duration of the game, you’ll find yourself unable to keep up with and counter players on the opposite team. Practice springs as well as long distance running to ensure that your body can handle the physical demands on 90 minutes of intense sprinting.
Perfect your technique
“Technique is everything.” Himachal Mukhopadhyay says. “It’s not enough to be able to kick a ball. You have to be able to aim the ball and deliver the precise amount of power that you intended to give it.” This isn’t just with regards for shooting, the advice applies to every technique involved in soccer. From passing and dribbling to defending and throwing the ball in from a corner, having proper technique is one of the fastest ways of improving your game.
Use a wall if you don’t have any other equipment
If you have a massive field with other players to practice on, great! If not, a humble wall will make for a great training tool. Practice blasting the ball against it to improve your accuracy and power control, and use different parts of your foot to improve different ways of kicking. According to Himachal Mukhopadhyay this technique will help your passing and shooting game immensely.
In the United States health insurance is one of the most contentious issues currently being debated among voters and constituents. The healthcare industry is a booming one, but it’s also changing extremely quickly. These changes will not only affect patients and consumers, but will also have an impact on healthcare payers and providers. Below we’ll address a number of issues currently threatening healthcare payers within the healthcare payer space with the help of expert Himachal Mukhopadhyay.
Ensuring Costs Don’t Spiral Out of Control
“Keeping costs under control is a challenge for any business – established or fledgling – and the healthcare industry is no different.” Himachal Mukhopadhyay says. Private insurers often don’t have the purchasing power that governments have, and because of that they’re beholden to price hikes of drug companies and hospitals. Keeping the costs of these products and services under control is key to ensuring that healthcare payers can continue to offer affordable services.
Retaining Current Number of Members
According to Himachal Mukhopadhyay, retaining members within the healthcare payer space is critical for ensuring that overheads are consistently met. As private insurers move towards value-based-care, they will work harder and offer incentives to keep patients healthy; this in turn will reduce the amount of money the insurer will have to spend to keep that patient healthy during their lifetime. If patients choose to switch to another insurer, they take with them all the benefits afforded to them by their current healthcare payer, thus wasting money.
The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will start to have an increased effect in 2019, according to Himachal Mukhopadhyay. This reform will affect payers and providers in different ways, and for profit companies will be able to repatriate foreign cash at a favorable rate. Most payers and providers don’t have foreign companies or services and so won’t be able to benefit from this repatriation. There were also other aspects of the Act which could negatively affect both payers and providers.
Higher Administrative Costs
As the call volume increases in healthcare so do administrative costs. A greater network of providers is needed to assist with determining patient liability amounts in advance. This will ultimately increase the volume of calls across the board as patients enquire about provider invoices and other costs.
Baseball and cricket might look similar, but they also have a lot of differences. Himachal Mukhopadhyay discusses.
Baseball is the great American pastime, and one that most people in the USA won’t need any explaining in order to understand how a game works. Cricket, on the other hand, is a completely different story. While the game shares some similarities to baseball – both games essentially share the same goal; hitting a ball with a stick to score points – they vary wildly when it comes to specific rules and particular styles of gameplay. It doesn’t make it any less interesting or exciting, however. In order to understand the game more comprehensively, we’ve put together this article with the help of cricket expert Himachal Mukhopadhyay. Read more below.
Cricket is played on an oval field
“While baseball is played on a diamond or pentagon shaped field, cricket is played exclusively on an oval field.” Himachal Mukhopadhyay says. To the casual observer the field may look round, but the field is actually curved into an oval shape. All the action takes place at the center of the oval, which is called a pitch (instead of a mound in baseball). The rest of the field is divided into two sections radiating outwards from the pitch – closest is the infield, and beyond that is the outfield.
The rules aren’t as complicated as you think
“The basic goal of cricket is pretty simple.” Himachal Mukhopadhyay says. “Two players called batsmen attempt to hit a ball thrown by a bowler. Once they hit the ball both batsmen have to run to opposite ends of the pitch. If they do this successful they score a point, called a run. They can run as many time as they like after they hit the ball, but if the ball is thrown into their wickets while they’re outside of a safety zone called the crease, they’re out of the game.” If a batsman hits the ball all the way to the boundary of the field he gets four runs, if he does it without the ball touching the floor, he scores six. If someone of the other team catches the ball before it touches the ground, the batsman is out. The game is split up into chunks of time called “overs”, consisting of six throws, or bowls, each.
Cricket can last a very long time
Unlike baseball, which generally only lasts one day, cricket games can take up to five days depending on the type of game being played. According to Himachal Mukhopadhyay the different types include test matches, one days, five days as well as a very game called a twenty:twenty, in which both teams only have 20 overs each.