5 forces that drive healthcare industry transformation

The healthcare industry is experiencing a period of change, and five key factors are driving this development, according to a new report.

The report, compiled by PwC’s Health Research Institute, said that as healthcare becomes a far less siloed industry, there is far more room for innovation and for new players to come onto the scene. After decades of being resistant to change, the industry now must deal with many new developments that are occurring rapidly.

“This modular ecosystem, in which consumers can choose care according to their wants, needs and wallet, is far more accessible to newer players, which can tackle discrete parts of the system without having to control, own or understand the whole,” according to the report. “This ecosystem is more dynamic, responsive to consumers and fertile for innovation.”

The five factors the report points to are the:

  • Growing influence of consumerism: Patients now have far more access to data and are more plugged in to finding the care options that best benefit them--and their bank accounts, according to the report. Price transparency allows them to shop, and programs that connect and inform consumers are becoming more common.
  • Transition to value-based care: This is the factor most likely to produce immediate, wide-scale results, according to the report, as the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services push for alternative payment models in its programs. The shift could produce new sources of revenue for healthcare facilities.
  • Widespread use of technology: In addition to the adoption of electronic health records, new technologies are changing the way clinicians provide care and how patients can connect with the industry, according to the report. Artificial intelligence programs like Watson and precision medicine genomics expand the realms of individualized healthcare.
  • Decentralization of care: Remote patient monitoring and virtual clinics bring care directly to patients, instead of bringing consumers to a centralized location, according to the report. This means consumers can obtain care wherever and whenever they want. 
  • Increased focus on wellness: Patients, insurers and healthcare employees all benefit from this trend, according to the report. Encouraging patients to eat better and exercise more, for instance, improves their overall health, and offering wellness programs in-house reduces burnout among staff members.