Consultant organizations like to produce big picture think pieces, and PWC has issued a report on the US health care market called “Surviving Seismic Change”. (PWC Report) It describes forces it believes are colliding to reshape the health system and the five core markets that PWC believes comprise that market: care delivery, diagnostics and therapeutics, financing and payment, platforms and support and wellness and health management. These five markets are being reshaped by five forces (apparently the researchers were using their toes or fingers to count the applicable categories for the report): consumerism, decentralization, technological advances, paying for value and greater interest in health and wellness management.
PWC believes that care delivery will see reduced growth due to the change in reimbursement methods to value, and that traditional providers will see movement of revenues to more convenient, cheaper models. I am not buying that because I don’t see either declines in utilization or muted price inflation ahead, in fact both are currently contributing to a re-accelerated growth in health spending that I believe is highly likely to continue for years. They also see a slowing of growth for diagnostics and therapeutics. Here I agree that the push for value and outcomes may limit sales of marginal products, but the countervailing trend is the cleverness of drug and device manufacturers in inducing consumer demand.
The also see slightly slowing growth in financing and payment services, but I don’t see that occurring, as the ultimate payers spend more money on administration trying to figure out how to spend less on health. Seems backward, but our system is full of weird dynamics. They do see platforms and support having very rapid growth, which I tend to agree with due to the factor mentioned immediately above. And they think wellness and health management will continue to have good growth. Again, given the susceptibility of consumers to good marketing, I suspect they are right. The report generally is full of fairly obvious observations and some useful insights.