ESO Identifies Biggest Hospital Trends That Will Have an Impact in 2021

Focus will be on financial impact of COVID-19, need for better surveillance, evolution of preparedness models, and importance of data

January 7, 2021 – Austin, TexasESO, the leading data and software company serving emergency medical services (EMS), fire departments, hospitals, and state EMS/trauma offices, today shared the trends it predicts will have the most impact on hospitals in 2021: COVID-19 will continue its financial impact; the need for better surveillance will emerge; preparedness models will evolve; and the need for better data and in-depth analysis will become critical.

“Hospitals were significantly affected by COVID-19 in 2020, and this trend will continue into 2021,” said Dr. Brent Myers, Chief Medical Officer for ESO. “Many hospitals will continue to experience the uncertain impacts of increasing COVID-19 patients, particularly in the first quarter of 2021, coupled with an intermittent and unpredictable need to cancel elective procedures in order to preserve capacity. The need for greater access to data, data standardization, and collaboration across systems to adequately respond to emergent and large-scale events has never been more evident.”

Key Hospital Predictions for 2021:

  • COVID-19 will continue to have a major financial impact on hospitals:
    We have seen multiple examples (backed by data) of people shying away from hospitals during the pandemic, including refusal to visit the Emergency Department for time-sensitive conditions and hesitancy around elective procedures. Additionally, the possibility exists for state governors to impose mandatory shutdowns around elective procedures, further reducing revenue streams for hospitals. Moreover, hospitals will compete for a smaller pool of qualified and experienced nurses and turn to more expensive staffing agencies as burnout takes its toll. These behaviors and decisions have had (and will continue to have) financial implications for hospitals. This, unfortunately, will likely lead to hospital and EMS agency closures if organizations are unable to adapt to changing market dynamics and trends and withstand the financial losses. The rise of concierge care and hospital-at-home will change health systems from brick and mortar to virtual care.
  • Surveillance (and surveillance data) will be of critical importance:
    The need for timely population-level surveillance and accurate surveillance data will become more important than ever, especially around COVID-19 transports, influenza-like illness impressions, hospital diagnoses, etc. The ability to identify changing trends in EMS responses and hospitalizations of patients with COVID-19, influenza, or any infectious disease will help both hospitals and EMS agencies be prepared with proper resources and staff. Accurate data in this regard can help avoid needless cancellation of elective procedures while assuring appropriate COVID-19 capacity when necessary.
  • Preparedness models will evolve:
    What’s become abundantly clear during this pandemic is that our current preparedness models are woefully inadequate to predict and respond to surges in hospitalizations. Currently, bed availability is a key metric we use to measure capacity. However, due to a diverse set of variables, including potential resource constraints during non-pandemic times, bed availability quickly becomes an inadequate measure. Thinking around preparedness will evolve to include disparate data points with rigorous analysis to ensure more sophisticated responses to disaster management.
  • Technology and data become even more important:
    COVID-19 exposed the need for greater data standardization and collaboration between hospitals, first responders, public health offices, alternative destinations, and telehealth organizations. Accurate data collection with measures that matter will provide key insights and trends, but only if we are able to compare apples to apples – data element standardization will be key. Hospitals will use analytics to be more efficient and better manage resources to mitigate staff burnout; improve patient care; understand challenges at a facility, system, and state level; and unearth evidence-based approaches to solutions.

Download the 2021 Hospital Predictions whitepaper here.

About ESO
ESO (ESO Solutions, Inc.) is dedicated to improving community health and safety through the power of data. Since its founding in 2004, the company continues to pioneer innovative, user-friendly software to meet the changing needs of today’s EMS agencies, fire departments, hospitals, and state EMS offices. ESO currently serves thousands of customers throughout North America with a broad software portfolio, including the industry-leading ESO Electronic Health Record (EHR), the next generation ePCR; ESO Health Data Exchange (HDE), the first-of-its-kind healthcare interoperability platform; ESO Fire RMS; trauma, burn and stroke registry software; and ESO State Repository. ESO is headquartered in  Austin, Texas. For more information, visit

Media Contact:
Andy Prince
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(512) 289-4728