6 Fascinating Healthcare Trends for CNOs to Watch in 2020

6 Fascinating Healthcare Trends for CNOs to Watch in 2020

Shane Parker, RN
Co-founder and Chief Nursing Officer

As 2019 winds to a close, CNOs will be contemplating what the coming year might hold in store for them, their organization and their staff members. Some of the coming healthcare trends – in expanded patient care, for example – offer a great opportunity for CNOs to better support patients while potentially creating new revenue streams. Other trends, such as the rise of homegrown healthcare innovation centers, will require CNOs to become experts in change management.

Technological innovations, as you might imagine, abound on the list of trends every CNO should watch carefully heading into 2020. But certain non-digital trends in care delivery also deserve your attention. We’ve rounded up six of the most fascinating healthcare trends to watch in 2020. Let us know what else you see on the horizon that will affect your role as a CNO in the coming year.

Healthcare Trends

1. Expanded Benefits Under Medicare Advantage Plans

In April, 2019, CMS approved a rule change that allows Medicare Advantage plans in 2020 to begin offering supplemental benefits not normally covered by Medicare Parts A or B. CMS gives the example of Medicare Advantage plans offering “adult day health services, and/or in-home support services” or home meal delivery or “transportation for non-medical needs like grocery shopping” as long as these services “have reasonable expectation of improving or maintaining the health or overall function of the enrollees.”

What this means for CNOs: This rule change makes it possible for healthcare systems to offer a more complete continuum of care for elderly patients. Creating new services for seniors covered by these plans could enable you to provide better care for patients while also creating additional revenue streams. You also should consider how these changes impact your hospital’s discharge planning. In the past, your case managers may have referred frail elderly patients to community resources, whereas now they may be able to refer to partner organizations that can provide an elevated level of care that helps reduce readmissions within this vulnerable population.

2. The Rise of Clinician Chatbots

Artificial intelligence continues to disrupt healthcare, with many healthcare systems now implementing chatbots to help patients understand their symptoms and figure out what type of care to seek. For instance, a patient might visit your health system’s website and open a chat window to input symptoms and receive responses from a bot that presents as a nurse. The nurse chatbot can suggest the patient’s next step, such as making an appointment with her primary care provider, going to an urgent care facility or calling 911. Chatbots also can ‘hand off’ the patient to a telehealth nurse for further assessment.

What this means for CNOs: Most healthcare organizations probably will not build triage or nursing chatbots on their own; they will instead work with a tech company that provides this service. But you, as the CNO, will need to determine the ‘paths’ each patient/chatbot interaction should follow. For example, at what point should a patient be routed to a video visit for further triage? Your leadership will help ensure that chatbot interactions follow the same procedures and meet the same quality standards as any other type of care offered by your organization.

3. Expanded Consumer Engagement

In its 2016 “Transformative Innovation” report, the Healthcare Financial Managers Association notes the trend for healthcare systems to engage with patients even when they’re well. Health systems can expand the concept of the ‘medical home’ by continually engaging healthcare consumers on a digital basis with “meaningful health content, tools, and resources,” according to the report. We predict this trend will surge in 2020 as more hospitals and health systems create their own smartphone apps and other digital tools to foster patient engagement and build loyalty.

What this means for CNOs: You can work closely with your organization’s marketing, technology or innovation departments to ensure the accuracy of health information being produced, identify important population health topics to cover and use data specific to your patient base to drive the types of digital content your organization publishes.

4. New Treatments Driven by Technology

Have you heard of electroceuticals yet? Trust us, you will. According to a recent Time magazine story, industry analysts expect the electrical medicine (also called “bioelectrical”) market “to reach $7 billion by 2025.” The best-known bioelectrical device may be the cardiac pacemaker, but as pharmaceutical companies invest in electroceutical development, you can expect to see a much wider array of devices designed for treating ailments like hypertension and improving the quality of life for people with a chronic disease like Crohn’s.

What this means for CNOs: What new skills might your nurses need to manage the post-op patient with an implanted bioelectrical device that regulates her blood pressure? Should you begin screening nursing candidates for their tech skills, as well as for their bedside capabilities? As technology continues to drive the development of new medical devices and therapies, CNOs should begin to think about the expanded skills development education nurses will need to safely and effectively care for these patients.

5. Restructuring to Support Innovation

Across the U.S., healthcare systems have begun experimenting with different types of infrastructure to support healthcare innovation. Some organizations (like UCSF) create an over-arching Clinical Innovation Center to which all clinical leadership teams report. Other healthcare systems partner with existing innovation incubators in their city or region to bring disruptive approaches to their organization. Still other systems create their own venture companies to develop innovative ideas for delivering improved, value-driven patient care.

What this means for CNOs: Your leadership can help ensure your organization’s innovation efforts enhance care delivery by representing clinicians and patients alike in any restructuring efforts. Give thought to what type of structure might work best for your system, in terms of creating innovations that return value, improve patient engagement and result in improved outcomes.

6. CNO as Change-Agent-in-Chief

Nursing constantly evolves, as does the role of Chief Nursing Officer. Today, perhaps more than ever, CNOs must become masters of managing organizational change to guide their healthcare system through the constant flux of innovation and disruption. Clinicians rely on protocols and routines to ensure safe and efficient care delivery, and they look to you for strong leadership each time their systems and habits must change.

What this means for CNOs: The implications of poor change management can manifest as low employee morale, high nursing turnover rates and ineffective recruitment efforts. As the CNO, you should study change management techniques to guide and support your staff as they are asked to continually adapt their practice for quality improvement. Your ability to effectively lead and manage change in 2020 and beyond plays a pivotal role in how well your organization performs in the marketplace.

Use Technology to Ease Your Life as a CNO

These 2020 healthcare trends all signal one thing in common: evolution. As healthcare delivery continues to evolve, you can make your life easier as a CNO by adopting technologies that streamline core aspects of your business. ShiftWizard does just that. Built by nurses for nurses, ShiftWizard increases scheduling efficiency to save on overtime and agency nurse costs while also empowering nurses to control their own schedules – which keeps them happier on the job.

Read what our clients say about how ShiftWizard benefits their organization, and then schedule a complimentary demo of this revolutionary software today.

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