When it comes to what the health care industry will look like in 2016, people already have guesses. There will be a continuing emphasis on diagnostic technology, as well as an increased engagement among consumers concerning their coverage. But how else with the health care industry be shaped by our world throughout 2016?

PricewaterhouseCoopers' Health Research Institute surveyed 1,000 adults across the entire United States, including experts and those who work in the health care sector in some official capacity. There were many interesting trends in PwC's findings, including the fact that millions of Americans will receive their first video medical consultation in the next year. Technology will play a huge role here.

A recent trend over the past few years, and one that will continue and grow throughout 2016, is how people tend to use their smartphones as a way to get a diagnosis when they are not feeling well. There are all kinds of digital tools and apps now available to help consumers track their own health progress, whether they are on a diet or are just looking for a general snapshot of their lives.

"There will be a continuing emphasis on technology to diagnose and carry out different procedures, as well as an increased engagement among consumers concerning their coverage."

In addition to technology, 2016 will also be a major year for supporters and detractors of the Affordable Care Act. With a presidential election just eight months away, both Democrats and Republicans will be making the case for the continuation or total repeal of President Obama's signature health care law, which could help sway the entire electorate.

2016 will also be the year of the merger. By the middle of this past year, nearly $400 billion in agreements in major health care deals had been announced, breaking records set by the previous year. According to PwC, these mergers will continue well into 2016, with insurers taking center stage as they look to boost their own negotiating power and competitive advantages in the marketplace.

These advantages will include revenue streams that are diversified, new products being developed with new partners, the total optimization of an IT infrastructure and powerful data analysis of this entire industry. There will be consumer touch points created as independent hospitals work more closely with clinician groups and top tier health companies and systems across the United States.

Whether you choose to go the home health care route or visit a local physician, be sure to check back here again for more health insurance help and information. Contact a member of our team to learn more about available options.