A 2017 Projection on the Healthcare Industry
What was the biggest trend in the healthcare industry in 2016? Rising healthcare costs! Everyone from individuals buying health insurance on the exchange to employers providing group health insurance to patients getting a prescription saw their costs going up. There are a lot of proposals but very few solutions that address the actual cost of healthcare. As a result, Employees, Employers, and Individuals need to take more active roles in proactive planning of their care or seek professional coaches, similar to financial planners, to manage their healthcare. What trend(s) should healthcare companies be on the lookout for in 2017? The biggest consumer healthcare trend in 2017 will be confusion. With the recent election, barrage of media coverage, and horror stories on social media, individuals and small business owners are extremely confused about what they should do about their healthcare and healthcare coverage. So their reaction will be to avoid getting care or seek alternative care. The innovative companies will be those that simplify the process, provide upfront and transparent costs, and provide reassurance to a very concerned and financially wary consumer. Operating performance/efficiency has been a differentiator in the healthcare industry. How are companies tackling cost optimization? One of the areas with the most innovation happens to be in care delivery. Providers, both big and small, have been experimenting with new delivery and payor models. Providers are creating accountable care organizations and going at risk for the outcomes related to the care they provide. Primary care doctors are creating direct primacy care models and managing patients on a monthly subscription basis without submitting insurance claims. Healthcare systems are creating healthcare teams and collaborating across disciplines, in the spirit of improving a patient's outcome. Many of these changes are rapidly becoming mainstream because everyone from the government to employers are demanding better outcomes for their dollars. So the innovative companies are those that will break down silos and re-engineer their processes around the customer experience and patient outcomes. How can life sciences companies find a balance between innovation and efficiency? A process map of the life science industry would reveal how many steps and how much regulation there is between research and commercialization. So many life sciences companies and startups are targeting specific steps within the overall drug development process to drive efficiency, in order to bring more innovation to market. For example, Quintiles developed its Precision Enrollment process to scour EMR's find eligible patients for oncology clinical trials; and Pfizer partnered with IBM Watson to use cognitive computing and artificial intelligence to accelerate drug discovery. The advancement of technology has the potential to both reduce costs and increase efficiency, in the hope of helping more patients.