Healthcare leaders dig into business opportunities in changing landscape

Healthcare leaders emphasized changing winds in the industry and the need to adapt to them at this year's JP Morgan Healthcare Conference, according to Forbes.

The San Francisco conference brought 400 companies and 900 investors together to discuss shifts in the healthcare landscape and the strategies needed to address them. Several key themes developed at the conference, according to Forbes contributor Todd Hixon:

Opportunity: Leaders in all areas of the healthcare sector, including payers and providers, should take advantage of the Affordable Care Act's expanded access, CVS/Caremark CEO Larry Merlo said. With 30 million new patients entering the system, on top of increased federal subsidies, the spoils will go to the most efficient health leaders and systems, who will "get a bigger share of a bigger pie," Merlo said.

An increased emphasis on community-based healthcare: Conference speakers predicted an increased role for primary care, health sensors, urgent care centers and low-intensity pharmacy care. A report last September indicated pharmacist-provider collaboration is key to improving population health, FierceHealthcare previously reported.

A more retail-focused healthcare system: Aided by governmental and employer subsidies, consumers will be buying more and more healthcare services directly, conference speakers said. This is largely due to the ACA's federal exchanges, Hixon wrote. 

Acceptance of change among providers: "Change is accelerating," according to Hixon, and the health leaders present for the conference are "funding the long-overdue revolution in U.S. healthcare." Leaders like Cleveland Clinic CEO Toby Cosgrove, M.D., acknowledged these changes, from the rise of exchanges to increased price and outcome transparency.

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