By: Hadiya Iqbal, DPS Blogger / Marketing Coordinator

Every new year calls for something new. New events occurring, new resolutions, new expectations and as we are a healthcare staffing company, we must be aware of the new changes that the healthcare industry will bring in 2017.

PwC reports that 2017 will be a year of equilibrium for medical costs. The forces that increase health costs are being tempered by a demand for value in the New Health Economy.

Here are Five changes we should expect in 2017:

1.      Patient Power will increase. According to Healthcare IT News, it was predicted in 2012 that the next few years would represent a tipping point. Open-source collaboration, semantic technologies, universal exchange languages would lead to a new era of interoperability. This would ultimately build patient trust which would impact the change in the healthcare industry. Alfred Hamilton, assistant professor in the Department of Health Services Management and Leadership at George Washington University commented "Once we build a system where we empower the patient to take charge of their healthcare, it would be tremendous. Once we start focusing on the patient – not the payer, and not all the other stuff, we'll be in the ballgame."

2.      Specialty drugs will be loosening their grip. reports that 2017 will see slower specialty drug cost growth. For the first time in several years—since being stunned by high cost Hepatitis C drugs—these specific types of drug costs are not growing as fast.

3.       However, Prescription Drug Share will increase. Roughly half of all medical costs come from hospital spending: 30% from hospital inpatient and 19% from hospital outpatient. Physicians account for about 30% and prescription drugs 17%, per research conducted by PwC. As doctors proclaim new cures and increase the chance of giving false alarms to patients regarding their health, the share in prescription drugs will in return increase.

4.      Employers will be looking for new ways to reduce costs. Benefit strategies may switch from a focus on cost sharing to new provider networks. If you are an employer, PwC advises that you consider realigning cost sharing on ambulatory services, consider high performance network arrangements and evaluate PBM arrangements.

5.      Price will be the force behind the historical medical cost trend. Since the early 2000s, use of services has declined and higher prices are driving the growth in healthcare costs. Now, a close focus on both prices and healthcare delivery and access changes will be needed to contain medical costs.