PHARMACY

PwC report discusses what’s next for healthcare industry

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — The healthcare industry could see an “extreme makeover” next year, according to a new report by PwC.

The research firm’s "Top Health Industry Issues of 2011" report, based on a nationwide survey of 1,000 adults in the United States, identified six major issues facing health organizations:

  1. Record spending on health information technology will drive demand for skilled professionals in this area, increased roles for chief information officers and industry consolidation.

  2. Insurers adapting to new medical loss ratios are expected to make “significant” changes to benefit plan design and pricing, and despite the recent court ruling on the individual mandate, states will still have to develop health insurance exchanges.

  3. Shifts in focus from fee-for-service to measurements of performance, outcomes and savings in accountable care organizations will create new opportunities and risks.

  4. Cost shifting may have reached its limit, and decreased utilization by price-sensitive consumers may create a trickle-down effect among health organizations, starting with physicians and drug companies as consumers reduce doctor visits and spending on drugs, followed by reduced sales of other products and fewer diagnostics.

  5. Health organizations may seek to share administrative burdens and information technology investments, gain market share and fill strategic gaps through increased merger and acquisition activity.

  6. Drug companies may see more opportunities to increase their visibility to consumers, influence health outcomes and reduce costs, and the use of mobile health and wireless technologies by health organizations is expected to continue increasing.

“Health organizations are placing their bets on the future direction of health care and making decisions that will position their businesses for competitive advantage,” said Daniel Garrett, PwC principal of health industries technology practice. “Some organizations will undergo an extreme makeover while others will stay the course or refine existing strategies. Whichever path they take, all health organizations will be under pressure to deliver greater value for less, and they will face new risks and realities as business models and market players emerge.”

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Healthcare consumer confidence on a decline

BY Alaric DeArment

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — The healthcare-reform bill promised to dramatically expand coverage for Americans, but healthcare consumer confidence hasn’t necessarily kept up, according to data released Monday by Thomson Reuters.

When Thomson Reuters started the Consumer Healthcare Sentiment Index in December 2009, it had a baseline measurement of 100; that number fell to 95 by July but rebounded to 100 in September. But it fell to 97 and then 96 in October and November, respectively. The index is updated monthly, is based on the Thomson Reuters "PULSE Healthcare Survey" and has two parts, a retrospective component based on respondents’ experiences during the past three months and a prospective component based on their expectations over the next three months.

While fewer respondents said they delayed or canceled healthcare treatment over the past three months, they appeared more likely to do so over the next three months. The low number in November came as more respondents predicted they would cancel doctor visits, diagnostic tests and therapies, and postpone filling prescriptions.

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Lilly donates grant to Manchester College for pharmacy school

BY Alaric DeArment

FORT WAYNE, Ind. — Manchester College has received a $35 million grant from the Lilly Endowment to launch a new school of pharmacy.

Manchester College, a college of 1,278 students affiliated with the Church of the Brethren and based in North Manchester, Ind., said the grant would allow it to develop its first doctoral program on a campus in the nearby city of Fort Wayne, Ind. The Lilly Endowment was founded in 1937 with stock in Indianapolis-based drug maker Eli Lilly.

“We are pleased to offer this funding to Manchester College to assist it in establishing its new school of pharmacy,” Lilly Endowment VP education Sara Cobb said. “The school will further important efforts in Indiana to increase opportunities for education and careers in the [science, technology, engineering and mathematics] disciplines.”

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