Changing Demographics Need Your Attention

Changing Demographics Need Your Attention

Adapting Your Growth Strategy to Meet the Needs of Aging and Racially and Ethnically Diverse Patient Populations 

By Michael Shipley
Senior Product Manager

Last week, I had the opportunity to dig a little deeper into a topic I blogged about back in August: care-setting shifts and how hospitals and health systems can use data to grow strategically to meet their market’s changing needs. In Stratasan’s “Using Data-Driven Projections to Adjust for Care-Setting Shifts” webinar, my colleague Hank Neuhoff and I explored the “four Ps” driving the shift from hospital in-patient to hospital out-patient and ASCs: payers, policy, pandemic, and patients. 

On the subject of patients, specifically, we shared some eye-opening statistics, and how substantive changes in our country’s racial, ethnic, and demographic makeup mean healthcare providers must rethink how they deliver care - because consumers’ needs and expectations are changing. Among the findings we shared:

The U.S. is more racially and ethnically diverse than it was in 2010. According to the 2020 Census:

  • Those identifying as white makeup 59.3% of the population; this group saw the largest decrease, dropping 4.5% vs 2010. Those identifying as Hispanic/Latino make up 18.9% of the population; this group saw the largest increase, growing 2.5% vs 2010.

Our population is growing at a slower rate than in previous decades, driven by low fertility rates and increased longevity.

Our older adult population is growing substantially: 

  • By 2030, every Baby Boomer will be 65 or older; 1 in 5 will be of retirement age.
  • By 2034, those ages 65 and older are projected to outnumber children under 18 for the first time in history.

As to how consumer needs and expectations of healthcare are changing, we shared:

  • 51% of consumers prioritize convenience and access when choosing a provider - over insurance coverage (46%), doctor/nurse conduct (44%), brand reputation (40%) and care quality (35%)
  • 80% of consumers want the ability to use technology when managing their healthcare experience; 70% would consider switching to another provider that offered more appealing services, such as online scheduling and virtual appointments.
  • 70% of consumers want health systems to be more actively involved in health management activities, such as supporting healthy eating (41%), paying for exercise equipment or programs (40%), or providing virtual physician-to-patient communications to discuss symptoms (39%).
  • Aging increases the risk of chronic diseases such as dementia, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, arthritis, and cancer. These diseases often necessitate increased reliance on in-patient hospital care and long-term institutional or home care.
  • Diverse populations have unique needs, such as needs for communication (language and literacy) and religious accommodations. They can also need physicians / clinicians who understand genetic dispositions for certain diseases

Three takeaways for hospitals, health systems, physician practices, and ancillary providers across the United States: 

You must prepare for greater demand for healthcare services, especially out-patient and long-term care. If you don’t already have access to data insights that bring to light your market’s current and future needs, the time to act is now.

The workforce challenges the healthcare industry is facing now are likely to continue - and worsen. You should be taking steps now to align your physicians / clinicians and cultivate new partnerships.

To safeguard and grow market share, you need to meet consumers where they are at. Better understanding market-specific patient out-migration trends and care-setting shifts are strong first steps.

There’s so much more to share on this topic, so if you missed the live webinar, I invite you to view the recording here. And if you’re interested in learning more about how comprehensive claims data can help you effectively manage market-specific trends, let’s connect.

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