Impact of Trump Presidency on Patient Engagement

Publication Date: 16/11/2016

Written by

Alex Green

One of the defining themes of the Trump presidential campaign was the pledge to “completely repeal Obamacare”. Since winning the election there have been numerous signs from the president-elect that indicate his definition of “completely” may not quite be the one we all expected or understood. Whether the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is fully repealed or whether ultimately it’s amended but maintained, there will be significant ramifications for patient engagement platform market.

The Signify View

So why is the ACA important for the patient engagement market?

  • The ACA was designed to provide access to care for all Americans, improve population health outcomes, and decrease healthcare costs.
  • ACA has been successful in significantly reducing the uninsured rate in the US
  • That has brought with it additional demand on many healthcare services, such as primary care physicians, and emergency departments – which does not meet the final objective of decreasing healthcare cost.
  • This is a clear indication for the importance of patient engagement, something that has not been fully utilized by the initial ACA roll-out. Patient education is essential to better manage health cost, especially in ensuring patients appropriately use health services and self-manage chronic conditions.
  • This has now brought patient engagement into focus as a central tool in addressing some of the cost and demand elements driven by the ACA, leading ultimately to the implementation of the reimbursement targets and measures put in place for meaningful use and now MACRA.

So if the ACA is completely repealed isn’t this bad news for patient engagement platform suppliers?

Trump’s Plans Will Need Patient Engagement

Post-election, all the signs are that parts of the ACA will remain, with Trump himself now toning down his position from “completely repeal Obamacare” to “Either Obamacare will be amended or repealed and replaced”. Whatever the final outcome, there are a number of reasons why Signify Research expects patient engagement platforms will still be key. These are explored below.

Reduce Healthcare Costs

One of the central goals in repealing or changing the ACA is to reduce costs. “We have to repeal it and replace it with something absolutely much less expensive.” being the president-elect’s mantra. Doing this while not completely pulling the rug out from under 20 million people who now have health insurance coverage as a result of the ACA, will be an impossible challenge without measures to encourage certain patient behaviours.
These behaviours, along with the drive to improve efficiency in patient management, include:

  • Improving patients’ knowledge, skills, ability and willingness to proactivity manage their own health.
  • Provide interventions designed to increase activation and promote positive patient behaviour.
  • Reduce the burden on physicians and hospitals when managing a condition.
  • Supporting the move to value-based care, which Signify Research expects to still be a central theme going forward.

It’s therefore the Signify View that patient engagement platforms will be used as a supporting tool in the new administration’s drive to reduce the overall cost burden of healthcare in the US.

Enable Patient-centered Healthcare

The Trump administration has stated on is transition website that creating a patient-centered healthcare system is a key goal of their strategy. As we all know, patient-centered means patients being central in the decision-making processes governing their healthcare. Patient engagement platforms will be an essential tool in this process as they allow patients to efficiently access the educational resources, personal medical data, financial tools and clinician support required in the decision-making process.

Health Savings Accounts

Finally, as was stated throughout the presidential campaign, the Trump solution will incorporate Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). HSAs should drive increased consumer demand for transparency in care costs and care quality – and patient engagement platforms can be a key tool in supporting this transparency.

For these reasons, the outlook for patient engagement platforms remains very positive. The current uncertainty around the future of the ACA does mean that the path forward is a little less clear, but it’s one we firmly believe will still have patient engagement at its core.

New Market Report from Signify Research Publishing Soon

This and other issues will be explored in full in Signify Research’s upcoming market report ‘Patient Engagement Platforms & Portals – World Market Report 2017‘, publishing in February 2017. For further details please contact