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Themes that were present throughout 2023 such as artificial intelligence, provider satisfaction, and market pressures will continue to drive how practices and providers operate in 2024. Anticipating their impact and taking advantage of them may distinguish the most successful practices in the new year and beyond.

That being said, here are my 3 predictions for healthcare in 2024:

1. Ambient Documentation technology will be even bigger

This artificial intelligence (AI) based technology that started in 2023 as a cautious curiosity will become more common and more important to practices thriving in the new year. As this technology develops further, and more importantly as the vanguard providers using it figure out how to maximize its time-saving possibilities, I predict fast-moving and quickly changing adoption of this groundbreaking capability.

Providers who utilize ambient listening technology will save a significant amount of time documenting patient visits,  allowing them to focus more on patients during visits and finally delivering a technology win in the battle against provider burnout.

2. Consolidations will trend up but so will the desire for independence

It’s no shocking statement to say that we are in an acquisition market in healthcare. We will continue to see consolidations going into 2024, but I predict that more and more practices previously purchased by healthcare systems or private equity will be looking for new ways to reclaim their independence.

How? Well, look for an increase in solutions that aid practices getting the benefits of being in a larger resource-rich group – think outsourcing of technology hosting, billing, and professional services – while regaining their autonomy. Another set of solutions will be geared towards assisting with interoperability, making sure that practices can successfully interact with their former owners and the healthcare system at large.

Practices will be looking for an easy button to recapture the joy of professional independence, and conversely, large groups that sympathize with and react proactively to this growing trend will find themselves stronger.

3. Increasing regulations on privacy and patient data

This last prediction depends on the ebbs and flows of politics, but as it stands right now, we should be looking at increasing regulatory mandates that will put pressure on practices, particularly around AI, privacy, and patient data.

Generative AI and other AI-backed tools have been a focal point of legislative bodies as they explore the long-term impacts and how best to legislate protections while simultaneously scoring political points. Although there are safe ways to implement these tools, federal, state, and local limitations on AI could prove clumsy and off-target initially.

As more patient healthcare data is collected and available with updated standards and practices surrounding Medicare and Medicaid, this will further place concern on privacy, and the regulations around patient data. This is already becoming a battleground for what data should and shouldn’t be shared and/or under strict control by patients and organizations.

These mandates will be increasingly at the state level and will most likely shift continuously as the year progresses and cultural tides shift.

2024 looks to be an exciting year in healthcare filled with new challenges and new advancements to ensure that providers can meet them.

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Headshot of Robert L. Murray, PhD, MD, FAAFP

Robert Murry, PhD, MD, FAAFP

Chief Medical Officer

Dr. Robert (Bob) Murry joined NextGen Healthcare in July 2012 and was appointed chief medical officer in December 2021. He brings to this position more than 20 years of extensive clinical experience and background in health IT. Previously, Dr. Murry served as the company’s Chief Medical Information Officer (CMIO) since May 2017. During his time as CMIO, he was the "Voice-of-the-Physician" across specialties, product safety, and government/regulatory affairs. Before becoming CMIO, he was the company's vice president of Clinical Product Management, responsible for clinical oversight and workflow design.

Previously, Dr. Murry served as Medical Director for Ambulatory Informatics and CMIO for Hunterdon Medical Center, where he continues to practice family medicine at Hunterdon Family Medicine at Delaware Valley.

He is board certified in Clinical Informatics by the American Board of Preventive Medicine and board certified in Family Medicine by the American Board of Family Medicine. He is also a Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians. Dr. Murry holds an MD from The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas; a PhD in Physical Chemistry from Boston College; and an MA in Physical Chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.