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Insights and Trends

Three Inpatient Rehabilitation Trends Every Health Executive Should Know

2024 is anticipated to be a year of significant change for post-acute and inpatient rehabilitation service lines. To help ensure hospitals stay ahead of these changes and position themselves for success throughout the year, health leaders are looking into the trends expected to have the greatest impact.

Three of these top trends include:

    1. Heightened Focus on Financial Performance

Eighty percent of health leaders are prioritizing financial performance in 2024.1 Specifically, health leaders report a financial focus on developing inpatient rehabilitation facilities (IRFs) to aid in improved patient outcomes and overall performance.2

Two financial areas health leaders are focusing on:

        • Medical Spending: In the coming years, the average growth in National Health Expenditure is projected to outpace the average Gross Domestic Product growth.3 If the current trajectory continues, health spending will triple to nearly $12 trillion by 2040.2
        • Cost Management: To maintain financial performance, while staying on track with medical spend rates, hospitals are looking for ways to manage their existing costs. The investment in value-based care has played a significant role in improving hospital savings and patient outcomes – especially in the rehabilitation setting.2
    1. Ongoing Staffing Strains

Although healthcare employment began to recover in 2022, a noticeable gap remains for the rehabilitation nursing workforce and could lead to significant impacts across post-acute settings.

Hospitals don’t expect a short-term resolution for the clinical staff shortage, but those hospitals that seek support outside their organization – specifically through a strategic partnership – could see improvements to the locating, hiring, retaining and overall well-being of their rehabilitation staff.

Additionally, the right partner will aid in driving up utilization to take on rising medically complex patient demand. This is made possible through a partner’s ability to provide specialized rehabilitation education and training to help staff supply the highest quality of care to the right patient at the right time in their care journey.

    1. Increased Interest in Digital Health Innovation

Hospital financial and operational challenges have only increased the interest for digital healthcare solutions. A key area of investment for rehabilitation programs in 2024: Artificial Intelligence.4

AI helps rehabilitation staff take a more comprehensive approach to care, improve care coordination and help patients better manage and comply with treatment programs. Additionally, AI and robotics have increasingly been used in inpatient rehabilitation to improve patient engagement and outcomes, and help reduce overall care cost. As these various AI solutions become more sophisticated and affordable, the healthcare industry can expect to see even more widespread adoption of these technologies.

Benefits of Strategic Partnership

To help ensure these trends are addressed, hospitals are finding get benefit in a strategic rehabilitation partnership with a trusted expert. For a hospital to reap the full benefits of partnership, finding a partner that meets your hospital’s unique needs, mission and vision it critical, as not all joint venture or acute rehab management partners are created equal.

Contact us today to learn how Lifepoint Rehabilitation can help your hospital stay ahead of shifting trends while maintaining strong performance and outcomes.

Read our full white paper to learn about additional trends set to impact hospitals in 2024 and beyond.


  1. HFMA, (August 2023), Service line trends survey Summary Report, [PowerPoint Slides], Healthcare Financial Management Association
  2. Seegobin, Vidal. (September 2023). 2023 Strategic planner survey results, [PowerPoint Slides]. Advisory Board

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