Tech attack to transform healthcare by 2020


The ongoing investment in the health technology market is not just a fad and is the single biggest enabler of a new health and wellness market.

This is according to a new report by consulting firm Oliver Wyman: The Patient-to-Consumer Revolution: How High Tech, Transparent Marketplaces and Consumer Power Are Transforming US Healthcare.

Drawing on more than two years of research, the report synthesizes the work of co-authors Tom Main, partner at Oliver Wyman and founder of the Oliver Wyman Health Innovation Center, and Adrian Slywotzky, a partner emeritus at Oliver Wyman.

The report shows how developments already well underway will lead to drastic improvements in costs, quality and access to care, largely through unleashed consumer demand fuelled by technology.

This “tech attack” will disrupt the market, driving unprecedented levels of predictive and preventative capabilities and bringing increased transparency into how care is delivered in the US.

 “We’ve known for some time that a healthcare model that waits for people to get sick and then treats them can no longer be sustained financially,” said Main. “But when we start to shift to a model based on prevention and wellness, remarkable things happen.”

In a marketplace where consumers make decisions based on real care and cost information, new technologies will do more than treat an individual, according to the report. They will fuel an engine of competition and innovation on patients’ behalf. The authors outline three distinct movements driving the shift to consumer-focused care:

1. Personalized apps, wearable sensors and social networks encouraging “life logging” are accelerating the quantified self movement, shifting social and cultural values and providing smart care teams with the tools needed to make personalized care a reality.

2. Transparent consumer markets will shift the basis of competition from reputation and referrals to price, value and outcomes, moving healthcare from a business-to-business to business-to-consumer market.

3. Smart care teams comprised of physician assistants, nurses, social workers, coaches and doctors will match patients to the optimal level of care and support and—by expanding their focus to encompass population wellness and prevention— will soon deliver a dollar’s worth of care for 70 or even 60 cents.

“The important thing to understand is how rapidly things are changing,” said Main. “Only a few years ago, the most advanced healthcare providers hoped to cut the cost of care by 20 percent. In the last year, they’ve told us that goal is not nearly ambitious enough.” According to the report, the disruption in the health market will lower costs by 40 percent, produce 10 more good years of living and improve the consumer experience by 300 percent. 

Oliver Wyman, Tom Main, US, Adrian Slywotzky