Savvy new players expected to shake up healthcare

Innovative companies drawing from ideas that transformed the retail, technology and telecommunications sectors are poised to siphon off tens of billions of dollars from traditional healthcare's $2.8 trillion in revenue, according to a new report from PricewaterhouseCoopers's Health Research Institute.

The report, "Healthcare's New Entrants: Who will be the industry's Amazon.com?" foresees today's siloed healthcare industry becoming a wide-open health marketplace with an array of new products and services.

Savvy new players--taking on healthcare's increasing consumer focus--are moving fast to capitalize on the changes, Vaughn Kauffman, principal, PwC Health Industries, says in an announcement.

"These new entrants are poised to shake up the industry, drawing billions of dollars in revenue from traditional healthcare organizations while building lucrative new markets. Within a decade, the health and wellness business will look and feel like other consumer-oriented, technology-enabled industries--retail, banking, publishing and music. Soon, healthcare will have its own Amazon.com-style, iconic, new economy brands," he's quoted as saying.

Among consumers, more than 50 percent were open to new services for minor tests and procedures such as examining a rash or checking vital signs at home with a smartphone. More than one-third would consider alternatives for more sophisticated care such as infusion therapies. 

It finds three areas most ripe for new entrants: retail-based clinics, price and quality transparency and the fitness and wellness market.

Traditional healthcare companies will have to partner and innovate or face fading away, the report says.  Meanwhile, nimble and innovative new entrants to the market will benefit from partnerships with existing healthcare organizations that understand the complex regulatory and reimbursement landscape.

The new entrants aren't necessarily startups. It finds half the Fortune 50 companies in 2013 are new entrants into healthcare--including seven retailers, eight technology and telecommunications companies and two automakers.

Google Glass is among the innovations set to disrupt the healthcare status quo. And specialty EHR vendors that better meet the needs of a niche will be among those who survive in a contracting market, Black Book reported recently.

While most healthcare CEOs in a previous PwC survey believe technological advances will transform their business in the next five years, few said their organizations are prepared for the changes.

To learn more:
- find the report

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