5 Healthcare Predictions for 2023

5 Healthcare Predictions for 2023

Sure, a health technology company making predictions for the coming year in December is a bit—well, predictable. But why should we let others have all the fun?

So, we’re sharing what our leadership team has observed in the past year and what those trends mean for digital health in 2023.

This year, we saw healthcare organizations define “care” much more broadly than just medical appointments.

Now, and moving into 2023, care includes everything that improves a person’s overall health—from doctor visits to mental health care to accessing relevant social services. Success for healthcare in 2023 means connecting people to all of those kinds of care, since by accessing the full range of capabilities, health plans find they can reduce total cost while improving members’ outcomes.

The Right Care for the Right Person

Next year, healthcare will move beyond simply identifying the right provider for the right person to match members with the precise type of care needed.

“There will be more focus on better understanding who needs what services, so that we can efficiently connect patients to necessary services,” says Executive Chairman Gene Huang. 

“Data analytics and technology will continue to help make this happen,” he adds. “If not, many people won't get what they need—and others will get services that have no benefit, eventually making the ROI zero or negative.”

Access to Care is Front and Center

“There will be even more written about, and action taken towards, improving access to care,” says Chief Revenue Officer Chad Baugh.

He adds that “access to care is no longer just about adding more services but instead about helping people get scheduled for the care and services they need, when they need them.

It’s clear that access to care remains a particular problem for racial and ethnic minorities, as highlighted in a RISE Health article citing a Yale study. Researchers found that 1 in 7 Americans struggled with timeliness of care.

Faster Care Delivery

On the topic of timely care, Head of Client Operations Janine Wakim predicts a focus on speed of diagnosis and treatment.

“The first way is through improved access by expanding the scope of advanced care practitioners to absorb some of the excess load put on MDs,” Wakim says. “The second is through non-invasive diagnostic tools like ultrasound at point of care.

Both of these solutions translate to more people getting the care they need with shorter wait times.

Expansion of SDoH Solutions

Health equity and SDoH are like the siblings—or at least cousins—of access to care, often mentioned side by side.

CEO Vytas Kisieulius says, “Along with access, an increasing emphasis on ensuring health equity will lead more plans to offer SDoH solutions and options to their members.”

But simply offering services is not enough. A complete SDoH effort means health plans are doing three things well, according to Kisielius:

  • getting people to these services;
  • monitoring who uses what types of services; and
  • measuring and reporting the outcomes improvement

Members (Experience, Satisfaction & Retention) Drive it All

Plans that are doing all of the above will likely have happier, healthier members who stay with the plan. But there is always room to improve (or maintain, if the plan is already at the top) quality scores.

VP of Health Plan Sales John Cover says, “I believe health plans will continue to be hyper-focused on the member experience (member satisfaction); not only because of the 4x-weighted CAHPS scoring, but also the inevitable end of the public health emergency. Member retention will be more important than ever.”

The overarching theme here is the increasing personalization of care to the unique individual across a more robust care journey.

There are still incredible opportunities in healthcare to improve access to care (including social services), navigation before and after appointments and satisfaction with finding and scheduling care.

As health plans become more sophisticated at using technology and services to customize the appointment scheduling and care delivery process, we will surely see better health outcomes for members and, at the same time, better bottom lines for insurers.


Written by ReferWell

ReferWell is a New York-area digital health company that leverages the referable moment — the point in time when a person is most ready to take action to improve their health — to improve access to care, increase health plans’ quality performance and reduce the total cost of care while improving the members’ experience and outcomes. ReferWell’s intuitive technology platform and skilled service team helps health plans and providers manage value and help more people get on, and stay on, their healthcare journey by providing an optimized provider search, making it easy to schedule appointments at the point of care to increase patient compliance, and providing a service component to ensure providers close the loop regardless of the EMR they use.

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