The healthcare industry is always changing, but 2017 might see the biggest changes yet. For instance, President Donald Trump has made clear his intentions to repeal Obamacare. How he intends to go about this task is anyone’s guess.

He also wants to bring down the rising cost of drugs. Politics aside, other changes to the health sector are in sight. Technological advancements such as artificial intelligence and Big Data are also having an impact on the sector. Let’s look at the most significant changes to watch out for.

1. Changes to Obamacare

When on the campaign trail, President Donald Trump promised to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which is better known as Obamacare. Now that he is in office, everyone is waiting to see his next move. Granted, he has recently taken a softer tone on the act, but its future still hangs in the balance.

2. Reduction in the Price of Prescription Drugs

Trump also promised to tackle the rising cost of prescription drugs, and with reason. A report by Segal Consulting predicts that senior citizens will pay 11.6 per cent more for their drugs in 2017. Meanwhile, wages will only grow by 2.5 per cent.

This disparity means that the cost of drugs is higher in US than in most countries in the world. And according to the LA Times, insurers are passing this cost to the patient, which then pushes up the cost of healthcare. It is, therefore, not surprising that PwC’s Health Research Institute predicts that the overall cost of health will increase by 6.5 per cent in 2017.

Unfortunately, things are only getting worse. Two major pharmaceutical companies, Valeant and Mylan, recently increased the price of their medicines. Congress is doing nothing about the problem, which may be why Trump wants to tackle it himself. How he intends to go about it is, however, still unclear.

3. Technological Advancements

Technology such as artificial intelligence (AI) and Big Data will also have an impact on the health industry in 2017. AI enables devices not only to recognize things, but also to respond to requests.

A good example is IBM’s Watson, which helps doctors to diagnose problems. Using AI, patients can send photos of a rash to their doctor’s office. The doctor’s computer then reads the image before giving a recommendation.

Big Data is about analyzing extremely large pieces of data to reveal patterns. The best example is the Electronic Health Record (EHR), which is now an integral part of the health care system. These technological innovations have both improved service delivery and changed how health facilities operate.

As a result, healthcare service managers, who manage these facilities, must now undergo additional training to keep up with these advancements. This involves doing an online master of healthcare administration in strategy and innovation (MHA degree), or a similar program.

The healthcare industry is set to change in 2017 and President Donald Trump might be the first in line to change it. Before assuming office, he promised repeal Obamacare. Although no one knows for sure whether he will keep this campaign promise or not, chances are that he will at least amend it. He also pledged to halt the rising prices of prescription drugs.

Apart from Trump, technology will also affect the industry. Artificial intelligence and Big Data have improved service delivery, and will continue to do so in the future.