Dr. Robert Pearl: My 7 healthcare predictions based on 5 million people's data

Alyssa Rege - Print  | 

After 170 articles and comments and clicks from more than 5 million Forbes readers, Robert Pearl, MD, the former CEO of Oakland, Calif.-based Permanente Medical Group, makes seven predictions for the next five years in healthcare.

Dr. Pearl has served as a contributor to Forbes since 2013 and has written numerous articles on topics ranging from the fears physicians have to why financial incentives don't work in healthcare.

Here are Dr. Pearl's seven predictions for the industry during the next five years:

1. Big policy changes will take shape during the next few years. If Democrats win a majority in 2020, healthcare may shift toward universal coverage, while a Republican majority may shift healthcare to the states and businesses, further eroding the ACA, Dr. Pearl predicts. Political polarization will continue, he adds, stating that any politician who attempts a healthcare compromise will be marginalized.

2. Physicians don't want or need all the data available through health technology. Instead, Dr. Pearl argues physicians want new health technology devices to reduce unnecessary care for patients and enable more immediate intervention when real health issues do arise.

3. Industry disruption will become more apparent.

4. Lawmakers will impose new regulations on pharmaceutical companies instead of expanding industry players' protections and patents.

5. Domestic violence and other once-taboo topics will become increasingly prevalent. Dr. Pearl posits that physicians will take a more active role in ensuring patients' physical and emotional safety in the home as part of their medical exams.

6. The anti-vaccination movement will take a hit. Physicians and health experts will take a stronger stance against the anti-vaccination movement by eliminating "personal exemption" laws nationwide that allow certain segments of the population to forgo vaccinations.

7. Sedentary lifestyles will continue to be problematic for people's overall health. "We all know that walking 10,000 steps per day and eliminating sugary sodas from our diets would benefit our health greatly over time, but the short-term rewards of inaction are much sweeter," Dr. Pearl writes. "As a nation, we will continue to exercise our mouths over the next five years, talking big about self-improvement, while our waistlines continue to expand."

To access the full report, click here.

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