3 Health Care Trends for 2023

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(Family Features) With many people preparing for health and wellness resolutions in the new year, understanding the state of access to care and other patients’ booking choices may give a sense of optimism for 2023.

To examine the outlook for 2023, Zocdoc, a free platform where people can find and book in-person or virtual health care appointments across more than 200 specialties and 12,000 insurance plans, analyzed appointment booking trends and conducted a provider survey. The results are reflected in the report, “Healthcare Hope For the Holidays: 2022,” which provided three key insights.

Happier Providers, Happier Patients
Provider and health care staff burnout can have a negative effect on patient experience, and 52% of providers surveyed indicated they agreed or strongly agreed practices will face increased financial challenges in 2023. However, savvy providers and support staff are taking steps to run more efficient practices, including using technology. This saves providers time and stress, giving them more time to focus on patient care.

In 2022, positivity pervaded providers’ perspectives on technology:

  • 64% of providers indicated they agreed or strongly agreed their scheduling software helped their practice run more efficiently.
  • 57% agreed or strongly agreed their telehealth solution was easy and intuitive to use.
  • 36% agreed or strongly agreed insurance verification and eligibility software helped their practice run more efficiently.

This perspective paints a positive picture for patient-provider relationships in 2023:

  • 71% of providers agreed or strongly agreed scheduling software will help run a more efficient practice.
  • 69% agreed or strongly agreed technology will help practices run more efficiently.
  • 59% agreed or strongly agreed their telehealth solution will become more intuitive and easier to use.

Technology Can Speed Up Access to Care
Amidst the unprecedented landscape of labor and supply costs rising, and physician and staff burnout a reality, innovation is driving positive change for patients. With a growing number of people embracing technology as a driver of access to an improved health care experience, and patients and providers aligned on telehealth as a supplement to in-person care, there are reasons for optimism.

Expediting patients’ access to care by surfacing the 20-30% of appointments that become available last minute due to cancellations and rescheduled appointments allows Zocdoc to enable faster speed-to-appointment for patients, compared to the averages reported in the Merritt Hawkins 2022 Survey of Physician Appointment Wait Times.

  • Cardiology: Typically 1-3 days with 39% seeing a cardiologist within 48 hours, compared to 26.6 days national average appointment wait time
  • Dermatology: Typically 1-3 days with nearly 30% seeing a dermatologist within 48 hours, compared to 34.5 days national average appointment wait time
  • OB-GYN: Typically 1-3 days with nearly 26% seeing an OB-GYN within 48 hours, compared to 31.4 days national average appointment wait time
  • Orthopedic surgery: Typically 1-3 days with nearly 38% seeing an orthopedic surgeon within 48 hours, compared to 16.9 days national average appointment wait time
  • Family medicine (PCP): Typically 1-3 days with 42% seeing a PCP within 48 hours, compared to 20.6 days national average appointment wait time

Looking Back to Look Forward
Unique, actionable insights into consumers’ health care behavior can be derived from 2022 data, providing a glimpse into what’s to come. Examining the industry’s journey affords the opportunity to predict what may continue to resonate in 2023.

For example, patients got back to regular care appointments after delaying or canceling appointments following the COVID-19 pandemic’s onset.

Additionally, telehealth usage declined in all specialties except mental health, moving virtual care toward being a specialty- and case-specific care modality. Consider these appointment trends from January-November:

  • 18% of appointments across all specialties were conducted via telehealth.
  • Excluding mental health, just 9% of booked appointments were conducted via telehealth.
  • 88% of mental health appointments were conducted via telehealth.

To find more information or book an appointment, visit Zocdoc.com.

Photo courtesy of Adobe Stock