PricewaterhouseCooper's forecasts health care in 2010

October 27, 1999

WHAT: In an innovative look ahead at the year 2010, PricewaterhouseCoopers, the world's leading professional services organization, has completed a new primary research study, based in part on an extensive survey of more than 400 thought leaders and healthcare executives around the globe with the goal of predicting the forces that will shape the healthcare industry. A meeting agenda and embargoed fact sheet of the report, HealthCast 2010: Smaller World, Bigger Expectations, follow.

WHERE: The results of HealthCast 2010 will be shared at The PricewaterhouseCoopers 1999 Thought Leadership Forum at The Charles Hotel, 1 Bennett Street, Cambridge, MA 02138.

WHEN: Thursday, Oct. 28, 1999 (8:00 AM - 5:30 PM) & Friday, Oct. 29, 1999 (8:00 - 11:45 AM)

WHO: On Thursday morning, David Chin, MD, Principal-in-Charge, Health and Welfare Practice, PricewaterhouseCoopers, will present HealthCast 2010 Defining Trends, followed by Sandra Lutz, author of HealthCast 2010, PricewaterhouseCoopers.

RSVP: Because of limited seating, registration in advance is required. For a complete agenda, media inquiries about the meeting or interviews and registration information, contact Marion E. Glick at 212-601-8273 or Amy Losak at 212-601-8233.

The meeting agenda includes:

HealthCast 2010: Smaller World, Bigger Expectations Fact Sheet

HealthCast 2010 is a view of the future from the healthcare practice of PricewaterhouseCoopers. To compile this report, PricewaterhouseCoopers commissioned a wide-ranging survey of 380 thought leaders in the United States, the United Kingdom, Finland, Spain, the Netherlands, Germany, France, New Zealand, Canada, and Australia. Those surveyed included a mix of policy makers, health system executives, employers, physicians, insurers and medical supply vendors. In addition, the firm's practice leaders interviewed more than 50 thought leaders from seven countries at length about future trends and their implications for the industry's stakeholders.

Each nation considers itself special, and so it is with each nation's healthcare system. Healthcare in the United States, New Zealand, or the Netherlands carries its own set of traditions, culture, payment mechanisms, and patient expectations.

However, through our research for HealthCast 2010, we found that commonalties, rather than differences, will forge the industry's future both here and abroad. Indeed, providers, purchasers and policy makers will face similar challenges in the 2010 healthcare economy. Thanks to the Internet, telecommunications and a proactive consumer, the healthcare world is smaller. Consumers shop for healthcare information on web pages from their homes. Their appetite for healthcare service and health information is insatiable. They want more. Rather than a hindsight view - (here's what has made you ill) - screening technology and genomics will allow medicine to look forward (here's what your risks are for these illnesses).

To look toward the future, we've identified what we see as Three Forces of Change and the Four Future Trends that result from those forces. Through these Forces and Trends, we arrive at Twelve Implications, each of which carries a number of action items for healthcare organizations.

Three Forces of Change1. An Empowered Consumerate Creates Impatient Patients.
Respondents to the HealthCast 2010 survey said that neither hospitals nor insurers are ready for the empowered consumer of the future. Consumers are more educated and wealthy and soon will find themselves shopping for healthcare purchases. During the past 30 years, U.S. consumers have spent a smaller percentage of their incomes on out-of-pocket health expenditures. Yet, that's starting changing. Out-of-pocket spending as a percent of all health spending is leveling off, and is likely to increase as employers push more of the cost and responsibility for healthcare onto employees.

2. E-Heath Adaptability Equals Survival.
Business is E-business in today's economy, and although healthcare has been slow to adapt, it will be challenged by new competitors that are savvy in the ways of e-health. Insurers, followed by hospitals, are viewed as the industry segment having the most opportunity to leverage the benefits of e-business, according to the HealthCast 2010 survey.

3. Genomics Shifts Healthcare from Cure to Prevention.
The book of life will be available in 2002, thanks to research efforts by the Human Genome Project and private industry. Respondents to HealthCast 2010 said that physicians will be most impacted by the changes brought on by genetic mapping. They also believe that physicians and third-party businesses will be the most likely sources for individuals to receive their own genetic maps.

Four Future Trends

1. Health Insurance Trends are Converging in the United States, Canada and Europe.
The U.S. health system is becoming more governmental in terms of payment and regulation. The aging of the workforce means that more Americans will depend on Medicare for their health needs. In addition, many employers are re-thinking their retiree medical benefits in the face of soaring costs. In the meantime, Canada and Europe are seeing a growing privatization movement as more individuals purchase private insurance and opt out of government health systems. In addition, the HealthCast 2010 survey showed that Americans believe defined contribution systems, which have become popular with corporate pension programs, are a likely possibility for employer-sponsored healthcare as well as Medicare.

2. Health Processes Are Becoming Standardized.
The emergence of web-based solutions and electronic medical records are likely to diminish the vast variations inherent in medical care today. The concept of compiling and updating standardized patient information using a common platform is already a reality in Europe. One of the largest deployments of technology in healthcare is under way in France where the government has issued 40 million Sesam Vitale health smart cards and is in the process of distributing 12 million more over the next three years. The electronic patient record fosters the need for data warehousing. Health leaders, particularly in Europe, believe hospitals are most likely to fill that role, according to the HealthCast 2010 survey. However, in the United States, survey respondents believed Internet portal services are a strong competitor. The move toward standardization also may stimulate healthcare organizations to focus on their strengths and outsource their weaknesses. The HealthCast 2010 survey showed that information technology was the most likely service to be outsourced by hospitals.

3. Workforces Must Adapt to Technology and Consumerism.
Because of projected increases in health spending and aging, most industrialized nations are expected to see an increase in healthcare manpower. However, the types of healthcare workers that will increase will be deeply impacted by technology and the empowered consumer. The key for healthcare organizations will be using the right mix of different levels of practitioners for the right patients. Respondents to the HealthCast 2010 survey said that hospitals will require the largest restructuring of human resources.

4. Aging, Technology and Consumerism Create Difficult Choices.
By 2010, we may be on the cusp of breakthroughs that could extend life by 20 years or more. Scientists see great advances in bioengineered organs, human growth hormone, organ transplantation, artificial skin and bones, gene therapy, and new vaccines. In the HealthCast 2010 survey, technology was identified as having the most impact on healthcare by 2010. However, most industrialized nations are struggling with the question of how much technology to purchase for an aging society with limited financial resources. Europe is likely to move to a two-tiered health systems, the HealthCast 2010 survey showed. In the U.S., survey respondents were mixed about whether healthcare would be a legislated right by 2010.

Twelve Implications

Healthcare organizations will have to debate the effects of the HealthCast Forces and Trends in light of their own financial and cultural issues. However, to begin the debate, we set out twelve implications that result from the intersection of these Forces and Trends.

  1. Healthcare organizations that are consumer friendly will be winners.
  2. Organizations must distinguish themselves through brands.
  3. Service and speed will be keys to consumer satisfaction.
  4. New e-business models will emerge and challenge traditional medicine.
  5. The race for capital will hinge on the ability to demonstrate quality, efficiency and customer focus.
  6. Resources must be reallocated to retrain the workforce.
  7. Functional silos in healthcare must be eliminated and replaced with seamless service.
  8. Payers must stress prevention because early detection and intervention will cost more.
  9. Consumers will want more and won't want to pay for it.
  10. Ethical dilemmas will accelerate for consumers, providers and purchasers.
  11. New opportunities for private health insurers outside the United States will expand rapidly.
  12. Medical professionals need to work toward global standards of medical treatment.

Porter Novelli

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