According to PwC’s Health Research Institute (HRI), 2016 will be a year of firsts for players within healthcare as the industry adapts to the main forces driving the New Health Economy: the rise of consumerism, the focus on value, downward pressure on costs, technological innovation and the impact of new entrants.
In its annual report, “Top Health Industry Issues for 2016,” released today, PwC’s HRI highlights the top 10 forces that are expected to have the most impact on the industry in the coming year and looks back at how trends from the past decade have persisted or evolved. Leveraging results from a survey of 1,000 US consumers and interviews with health industry leaders, 10 issues stand out in the year ahead across three key themes:
- Innovation:More and more, health technology in the palm of your hands will mean more than just monitoring – it will also mean diagnosis and treatment. Sixty percent of consumers are willing to have a video visit with a physician through their mobile device, while 58 percent of clinicians would rather provide a portion of care virtually. Additionally, new high-tech databases will allow industry players to analyze data from many sources in novel ways, finally unlocking new insights. Shouldering higher deductibles and rising out-of-pocket expenses, consumers expect to begin to manage their health spending like they manage their retirement savings.
- Access to care:In 2016, the US health sector is expected to see a new class of products – biosimilars – introduced to the market, bringing potential savings with them. The New Year may also bring renewed attention to behavioral health, long relegated to the industry’s back burner. However, the issue will be access. More than half of US counties have no practicing mental health clinicians. Additionally, with mounting budget pressures, care may move to the community as health systems pursue lower-cost care settings more aggressively and creatively than before.
- Troubleshooting issues in the New Health Economy: With 2016 being a presidential election year, industry issues such as drug pricing will be in the spotlight. Additionally, as insurers, consumers and purchasers are demanding better value, providers may be scrambling to unlock the medical cost mystery and calculate the true cost of services. 2016 should also be a year in which the industry is dramatically reshaped by consolidation, as the insurance market should inch closer to being dominated by three major players. Finally, with the rise of health technology comes the rise of cybersecurity Nearly 40 percent of consumers would abandon or hesitate using a health organization if it is hacked. More than 50 percent of consumers would avoid, or be wary of using, a connected medical device if a data breach was reported.
“After more than a decade of identifying the top health industry trends, we are finally starting to see the creation of a New Health Economy – a health system that is more connected, transparent and patient-centric,” said Kelly Barnes, PwC’s US health industries leader. “2016 will be marked by how well the sector balances greater demand with rising costs, and handles trends such as industry consolidation and the increase of consumer technology in healthcare. But there is much more work that needs to be done in forging new ways of receiving, paying for and delivering care, and it will be businesses that prioritize addressing consumer needs and increasing value that should succeed.”
Additional details on the top 10 business issues that HRI identified include: