Healthcare emerging as a true market


The $2.8 trillion US healthcare sector will start feeling like a true market in 2015. That is a key finding of a new report from PwC’s Health Research Institute (HRI) titled Top Health Industry Issues of 2015.

The report explores the top ten trends that are expected to shape the sector in 2015, including the expansion of do-it-yourself healthcare, how industry will adapt to the newly insured, and consumers’ competing desires for convenience and privacy. The report includes insights from a survey of 1,000 US consumers and interviews with health industry leaders.

“With consumers leading the way, bearing more costs and making more decisions, change is erupting throughout the health industry,” said Kelly Barnes, PwC's US health industries leader.  “Established healthcare companies and new entrants are rapidly developing cost-efficient products and services tailored directly to consumers.”

The report states that US physicians and consumers are ready to embrace a dramatic expansion of the high-tech, personal medical kit. Wearable tech, smartphone-linked devices and mobile apps will become increasingly valuable in care delivery. A proliferation of approved and portable medical devices in patients’ homes, and on their phones, will make diagnosis and treatment more convenient, redoubling the need for strong information security systems.

It predicts that privacy will lose ground to convenience in 2015 as patients adopt digital tools and services that gather and analyze health information.

Meanwhile, it predicted that the soaring cost of care for Medicare and Medicaid “dual eligibles,” aging boomers and patients with co-morbidities, will foster creative care delivery and management systems.

The report also found that many consumers are ready for non-physician caregivers to do more. Seventy-five percent of respondents said they were open to “extenders,” such as nurse practitioners or pharmacists, performing health services.

PwC, HRI, Top Health Industry Issues 2015, Kelly Barnes, US