NEW YORK, /PRNewswire/ — Implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is only one of the factors forcing a rapid reshaping of the $2.8 trillion U.S. healthcare industry in 2014 according to PwC’s Health Research Institute (HRI). In its annual report on the Top Health Industry Issues for 2014, PwC’s HRI identifies the top 10 issues facing the U.S. health sector this year, including the need to adjust to empowered consumers, rapid innovation, and increasing competition from non-traditional players. The report includes the results of a survey of 1,000 U.S. consumers and interviews with health industry leaders that provide insights into the emerging new health economy.
The report notes that much of the health industry has accepted that reform is here to stay – and forward-looking executives are making decisions based on a post-ACA landscape that has altered the provision of insurance and the delivery of care.
According to HRI, 10 issues stand out as the top focus for the health industry in the year ahead:
- Price transparency is growing as purchasers – consumers and employers – are demanding and receiving more information on cost and quality
- Employers are exploring new health insurance options through private exchanges
- New regulation aims to eliminate counterfeit medications in the drug supply chain
- States are turning to managed care to help contain Medicaid long-term care costs
- All healthcare companies need to rethink their roles and business models in the new health economy
- Healthcare companies will need to change their rules on innovation — embrace “fail fast” approaches
- Social, mobile, analytics, and cloud technologies are driving new health industry business models
- Corporate venture capital is picking up the slack as traditional venture funding slows for pharmaceutical start-ups
- Technology is redefining the healthcare job market
- Drugmakers must rethink their clinical trial research methods, embracing alternative approaches
Recognizing the increased role of the consumer, HRI polled 1,000 individuals to identify the top concerns driving healthcare customers’ choices. Key findings for 2014 include:
- Price-sensitive consumers are distinguishing high-quality care from high-cost care. Sixty-five percent of consumers do not believe expensive medical treatment means better quality.
- Providers and consumers are increasingly adopting mobile health technologies – more than one-quarter of consumers use mobile apps to schedule healthcare appointments, up from 16 percent a year ago.
- A skeptical public is wary of new entrants in health insurance. Only one in 10 consumers surveyed indicated they were very likely to buy insurance from a new start-up and only fifteen percent said they were very likely to purchase a health plan run by a hospital or health system.
- Twenty-seven percent of consumers indicated they strongly prefer that employers offer a choice of three to five health plans compared to 14 percent who strongly preferred to be offered a single plan.
For the full report, videos with industry experts and graphics illustrating each issue, visit: www.pwc.com/us/tophealthissues.