Industry Insights: Custom Market Research Solutions for Market Expansion into the US HbA1c Market
The WHO (World Health Organization) ranks Italy among the top 10 countries with high quality of healthcare and related services in the world. Although the Italian healthcare system is far from perfect, this rating by the WHO is largely based on equality of healthcare access and other healthcare outcomes such as life expectancy and healthy life years of the population. Despite displaying qualities of a higher level of care and healthcare services, Italy is currently the new epicenter for COVID-19. Despite now having some of the toughest measures in the world to contain the spread of the pandemic, Italian authorities were slow to react and fumbled many of those steps in the early stages of the contagion as they sought to preserve basic civil liberties as well as the economy, raising the fatality of the coronavirus outbreak in the country. The number of reported coronavirus positive cases in the US has skyrocketed over the past few weeks, and the death toll from COVID-19 in the US is not far behind from that of Italy. The rising number of cases has already overwhelmed the US healthcare industry. In this article, healthcare industry experts at Infiniti Research outline some key takeaways for the US healthcare industry from Italy’s flawed response to the outbreak and how healthcare companies in the US can prevent themselves from a similar fate.
Ensuring protection of healthcare staff
The US has surpassed the initial phase where the spread of the COVID-19 can be contained completely. As such, what companies in the US healthcare industry need now is to be equipped with the staff and resources to cater to the rising number of cases in the country. In Italy, over 2500 healthcare workers have become victims of the novel coronavirus outbreak. They account for approximately 20% of Italy’s healthcare staff who are out of action due to active infection and are subject to isolation or even death due to the virus.
The US healthcare industry cannot afford a similar situation at the current state, as such, they must ensure the safety of healthcare staff at all costs. Appropriate PPE should be provided to the staff based on the area in which they work Furthermore, supplies should be plentiful and necessary training must be imparted to the staff on guidelines to treat coronavirus patients. Apart from this, it is vital to offer timely and efficient testing of staff in order to ensure safety.
Rationing resources fairly
The surging COVID-19 cases can drive companies in the US healthcare industry into an agonizing emergency scenario and will require caregiver to take several crucial decisions. Rationing the available resources fairly to meet the demand of the rising number of cases would be one of the most crucial decisions to be made. The resources include ICU, ventilators, medicines, and staff to care for the patients. One of the first steps in managing available resources is screening outpatients who are unlikely to need critical care and urging them to self-quarantine at home. Providers in the US healthcare industry must also strive to look at the cases and try to evaluate as quickly and efficiently as possible the likelihood that they can improve a patient’s condition faster.
Set patient treatment guidelines
Providers in the US healthcare industry Hospitals could adopt a lottery or first-come-first-served system for triaging patients. However, this could mean that someone less sick is treated before an infected patient who needs critical care, thereby potentially failing to achieve the goal of saving the most lives. Hospitals could choose to treat worse-off patients first, but if those people are unlikely to survive, doctors might be better off focusing on people who are less infected. However, the chances of survival of these guidelines in an extreme crisis situation remain to be seen. Professionals in the US healthcare industry are of the opinion that as the US currently lacks an exact historical comparison for how the coronavirus pandemic could play out, these guidelines offer general principles for steering hospital decision-making. Having predetermined guidelines prove helpful not just for determining which patients to treat but also on how long to treat them.
Undertake extensive testing
Timely and rapid testing for healthcare workers as well as the general public with symptoms, and those who are asymptomatic is the need of the hour to help the US healthcare industry to prepare better for what lies ahead. Apart from the clinical benefits to COVID-19 testing such as creating an action plan for treating low- and high-risk patients, the primary purpose of testing during a pandemic is advancing public health. Testing allows tracking who has COVID-19 and can help limit the community spread of the virus.
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As the concept of digital healthcare goes global, healthcare stakeholders across geographies are evaluating new tools, while innovators are navigating pathways to implement advanced technologies into healthcare. Over the past decade, the European healthcare system has progressed leaps and bounds. However, the sector is bound by some major challenges including aging population, greater prevalence of chronic diseases, shortage of healthcare workers, and financial discrepancies of care. In order to put a strong fight against the increasing healthcare challenges, the European healthcare sector is now embracing digital innovations and new technologies now more than ever before. But what are the major roadblocks to successful implement digital healthcare technologies in Europe?
Addressing barriers to the full use of digital healthcare solutions in Europe requires a comprehensive action plan. Request a free proposal from our experts for more insights on how our solutions can help MedTech companies identify and tackle critical roadblocks with agility.
Digital healthcare challenges in Europe
Meeting regulatory requirements
The regulatory issues with digital health technologies are highly complicated. The EU is planning to roll out Medical Device Regulation in May and this is also said include regulations relating to digital health technologies. This could mean that out of several medical device that are surveyed, only a few may be compliant with the regulations by the time they go into effect. New medical device regulations that would come into effect this year would require strict and stronger clinical evidence for clinical technologies.
Highly fragmented market
The EU is creating increased regulations around MedTech. However, there are several hurdles to implementation on a country to country basis. MedTech startups in Europe build at a regional level before expanding. This is common trend in the US as well. However, the challenge here is that the systems are designed and developed for a local setting in the initial phase but launching the same system in another country could prove to be a tedious task the regulations and requirements across countries may vary. Setting up digital healthcare technology in a new EU country poses not just regulatory barriers but also logistical ones, such as infrastructure.
Finding funding for digital healthcare
Funding is another major challenge that digital healthcare innovators need to navigate in Europe. Seed-stage financing and early rounds should not be a challenge for digital healthcare startups in Europe because public funds can be sourced from countries like Germany and Portugal that make early-stage investments. There are also several venture capitalists across Europe that can also help with funding. Several US-based investors have been known to provide backing to Europe-grown startups. However, since Europe is a highly fragmented market, finding success across different countries in Europe may be challenging, making it difficult for digital health companies to find investors.
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The healthcare sector is undergoing a constant wave of transformation. From shifts in care settings to heightened expectations for stronger cost management and better consumer experience, traditional healthcare players are experiencing increased pressure on its core business models. A willingness to make bold moves in response to the market transformations can help businesses improve their profitability in the long run. For payers and providers that want to succeed, it is essential to focus on activities beyond their core functions that open up new avenues of revenue and profits. Healthcare industry research by experts at Infiniti shows that healthcare organizations that have invested to diversify into multiple industry sectors are gaining stronger returns when compared to their competitors that have not yet diversified. According to our healthcare industry experts, here are some of the key reasons why diversification is vital for companies to cope up with transformations in the future of healthcare.
Benefits of diversification in the healthcare industry
Generally, companies in the healthcare industry tend to rely on organic changes or incremental improvements to fuel organizational growth. However, due to the revolutions expected to take place in the future of healthcare, companies in the sector can accelerate their growth by diversifying into non-core areas of healthcare. Some players even choose to diversify in order to combat the headwinds in their core business and achieve breakthrough growth.
Attractive to investors
Investors regard healthcare industry growth as a means to gain higher-value revenue streams and therefore regard it positively. Companies can build new businesses through diversification. Furthermore, it becomes easier for payers to enter the care management space and manage population risks more efficiently. For instance, adding digital services can enable providers to better connect with patients and accommodate changes in care delivery. Our research shows that healthcare organizations that have diversified their operations were more successful in delivering excess total returns to shareholders.
Protects the core functions
A common misconception among payers and providers is that diversifying will distract the organization from its core functions. However, if managed properly this can be avoided and in turn diversification can help protect core businesses. For example, expanding ambulatory services can create new streams of revenue for a company in the healthcare industry as it accelerates the patient inflow into the company’s acute care services.
Considering the rising pressure on traditional businesses, healthcare executives should strongly take into account the advantages of strategic diversification in areas where their core can give them an inherent advantage. To succeed, it is imperative to spend real-time and invest resources to develop a strategy and approach that will harness the full potential for this move.
Every organization needs to have a marketing strategy to stay competitive in the marketplace. When it comes to healthcare, irrespective of whether you are a healthcare provider, health tech developer, or a medical device manufacturer, you need to have a strong healthcare marketing strategy in place in order to survive amidst the emerging trends and massive consolidations in the sector. To stay competitive and gain new business, it is vital to have an effective brand strategy and marketing innovation. In this blog, we’ve discussed some of the must-haves for a winning healthcare marketing strategy.
Essentials for a strong healthcare marketing strategy
Focus on customer experience
Today, customer experience is one of the most critical factors of success for any business. Your healthcare marketing strategy should revolve around how your products/services will meet the customer needs and ensure better customer experience. An effective healthcare marketing plan must include creating a mobile-friendly website, undertake accessibility best practices for those with disabilities where needed (such as your website or product), enhance usability for your website, service, or product design.
Another essential factor to enhance your healthcare marketing plan is to become more accessible to the customers. Undertake efforts to minimize the time taken for patients to reach a hospital facility in order to undergo treatment. This can be done by adopting more advanced technologies in healthcare such as live chat platforms, extended support hours, and telehealth services.
Be where the audience is
For your healthcare marketing strategy to be successful, it is vital to identify where your audience is most active and establish your presence there. Some key questions to be answered here include – what are the social networks that the target audience is clustered around? Is there an opportunity to develop a mobile app? What is your ranking on various search engines? An ideal healthcare marketing strategy should be able to place you where your target audience expects to find you.
Build inter-personal relationships
Healthcare is a sensitive subject, so the closer you get to your customers and the better relationships you build with them, the chances of your success becomes higher. Advanced capabilities such as big data and analytics can facilitate in formulating a good healthcare marketing strategy and build better customer relationships. Furthermore, it also helps to understand if there are any common patient or customer demographics that can be incorporated into your marketing message.
Security is one of the key issues looming in the healthcare industry right now. All your efforts put into building a good healthcare marketing strategy can go down the drain if your customers do not trust you with their data. From electronic health records to customer login details, security best practices must be followed, and all the regulatory requirements should be adhered to.
According to our healthcare industry analysis for the Asian market, the sector is expected to record positive growth this year. The rising adoption of technology, innovative healthcare access programs, and growing healthcare industry trends like care delivery outside hospital settings are some of the vital factors fueling the growth of this sector. However, players in this industry still have to identify complex and innovative solutions that can tackle key healthcare industry challenges such as access and affordability in Asian countries. Other challenges in the Asian healthcare sector that requires immediate attention includes policy innovation, support for new business models, development of patient-focused technology platforms, and the evolving role of consumers in healthcare.
Based on a comprehensive healthcare industry analysis by experts at Infiniti research, we have listed out some of the top healthcare industry trends and challenges to watch out for in 2019.
Asian Healthcare industry analysis 2019: Top trends and challenges
Rising need for private health insurance
This year, Asian countries will see an increase in the adoption of private insurance, including in countries such as Japan and Singapore that has a strong universal coverage system in place. Our healthcare industry analysis shows that the rising cost of healthcare services is driving consumers to invest in better protection against healthcare-driven-poverty. Furthermore, insurance companies are also bringing in new channels of consumer penetration and wellness-focused products that use advanced technologies to manage consumer health better.
Rise of digital platforms in clinical trials
The increasing cost pressures and a decrease in new drug pipelines have prompted pharmaceutical companies to adopt digital solutions to gain greater efficiency in their research operations. Advanced technologies such as big data, artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT) devices, mHealth platforms, wearables, and crowd-sourcing platforms will facilitate new workflows in clinical trials management and their execution across Asian countries.
The in-depth healthcare industry analysis of the Asian market conducted by experts at Infiniti Research suggests that value-based reimbursements will soon make its debut in Asian countries. The popular global trend of outcome-based payments and reimbursement models are currently missing in Asia. A closer look into the Asian healthcare industry analysis also shows that industry suppliers, including IT vendors, medical technology companies and pharmaceuticals are already partnering with public and private payers to introduce outcomes-based reimbursement models for expensive therapeutic products and services. Japan is expected to be the first country in Asia to introduce an outcomes-based reimbursement model with China potentially following suit in the near future.
Growth of Home health monitoring platforms
The rise in tech-enabled homecare platforms, which was introduced in Asia a few years ago will start generating returns as well as ecosystem level partnerships that will consequently result in better market sustainability. Based on Infiniti’s healthcare industry analysis, experts also suggest that the industry will move to the next level with the increasing adoption of home-based sensors, robotics, and AI-enabled home health monitoring platforms.
The way in which the US population seek and receive care is so dynamic that it often becomes hard to keep track and also predict the future of healthcare system in America. Healthcare providers are taking on financial risk for patients, identifying ways to improve healthcare access and outcomes, and prioritizing consumer experience in order to cope with the changing patient needs. Despite several challenges coming their way, providers are increasingly looking at ways to adopt mobility into healthcare solutions.
What is healthcare mobility?
The rapid adoption of mobile devices and other advanced technology by healthcare providers to improve patient care is known as healthcare mobility. As a greater number of patients are increasingly looking for convenient ways to gain healthcare access, mobile devices are gradually becoming a significant part of healthcare IT infrastructure. The use of mobile devices in healthcare will not only reduce the time it takes to save a patient’s life by retrieving data and communicating with team members faster, but it will also give clinicians the tools they require at their fingertips whether they are operating in a primary care, ICU, or emergency unit. Some of the key benefits that mobility can provide in the future of healthcare include:
- Demand for trauma care will fall as partially and fully autonomous vehicles become mainstream.
- Increased access to healthcare as providers can develop better mobility networks. As a result, patients will get new options to reach existing providers.
- More efficient supply networks with fundamental changes in the medical supply chain, thereby enabling nimble transportation networks and disrupting existing models.
This blog from Infiniti Research explores how the various changes that will unfold in the future of healthcare will benefit providers and highlights how providers and other stakeholders in the healthcare industry can position themselves in an ecosystem that is underpinned by autonomous and shared mobility.
The role of mobility in enhancing the future of healthcare
Reduced demand for trauma care
According to reports, in 2012 alone, the number of patients in the US visiting the emergency room due to motor vehicle accidents were over 2 million. This has resulted in millions of dollars’ worth of lifetime medical costs. As roadways in the US are being increasingly filled with autonomous vehicles, accident rates and the associated financial, social, and health burdens are expected to fall. With fewer road accidents, demand for trauma care will likely decline. In the United States, this will likely amplify the future of healthcare to shift focus on advancing overall population health and preventative care.
Improved access to care
One of the persistent challenges for health systems is patient-no show. With the rising number of missed appointment rates in many large clinics, there is a consequent financial burden and lost efficiency for providers. Access to transportation is often a critical barrier to receiving care, especially for chronic conditions that require regular appointments. With mobility, healthcare systems or emergent players could create mobile care units that optimize health professional rounds, dispatching physicians, and nurses to remote care sites or patient homes. Furthermore, the concept of driverless vehicle enables the usage of other emergent technologies such as additive manufacturing, augmented reality, and virtual reality to create highly capable autonomous mobile care units that can carry out tasks that once took place in hospitals, such as 3D printing a custom cast for a broken bone on the spot, running tests on vitals, or holding consultations with specialists.
Optimize clinical supply chain and procurement
Mobility transformation will play a significant role in making the future of healthcare better for not only the patients but also the providers. Medical supply chains can be dangerously fragile. With increased access to cheaper, faster, and more flexible distribution channels, healthcare systems would be able to deliver clinical supplies more efficiently and at a lower cost across their provider network. Distribution networks powered by advanced technology could promise a better future of healthcare with increased speed and predictability with which goods move from suppliers to patients or providers. Companies throughout the medical supply chain should think about how mobility in the future of healthcare could impact their business models, including the potential unintended consequences.
What is healthcare consumerism?
The concept of consumerism in healthcare is recent, with references to patients as “consumers” dating back to the early 20th century. Healthcare consumerism transforms an employer’s health benefit plan by giving plan participants the primary decision-making power. The ultimate goal of healthcare consumerism is to enable patients to actively be a part of their healthcare decisions.
However, many plans fail to understand or ask consumers about how they consume healthcare services. As a result, patients tend to pay little attention to cost since they only have a limited role in the healthcare decision. Furthermore, usually patients prefer to stay away from managing their own health information; instead, they are eager to be cared for by an efficient healthcare system that respects their preferences. In order to develop more meticulous healthcare users, healthcare providers must provide information, financial incentives, and decision-making tools to allow consumers to make educated healthcare purchasing decisions.
Objectives of healthcare consumerism
According to healthcare industry experts at Infiniti Research, healthcare consumerism is designed to:
- Promote closer communications and cooperation between healthcare professionals and patients
- Encourage patient buy-in and compliance with treatment recommendations
- Increase knowledge and awareness of lifestyle and wellness practices among patients
- Focus increasingly on preventative medicine by encouraging healthy activities and habits
Healthcare consumerism: boon or bane?
The era of consumerism in healthcare has arrived. Direct-to-consumer advertising of pharmaceuticals, health newsletters from leading hospitals and medical schools, and, most importantly, the near-ubiquity of the Internet have made it easy for consumers to obtain information about their medical conditions and possible treatments. This presents healthcare providers and patients with both challenges and opportunities.
Some studies suggest that healthcare consumerism can negatively affect the quality of patient-doctor communications. A clash of opinion could arise when the patient’s preconceptions do not match with the doctor’s assessment. Perhaps less information gets effectively exchanged. Even when more information is in fact exchanged, the patient may discount what he or she hears from the doctor. Furthermore, consumerism may raise the possibility of disagreement between patients and clinicians, increase mutual frustration, and result in inefficient use of patient-clinician visit time.
But this is only a part of the story. studies have demonstrated that healthcare consumerism is important to patients, although results vary based on patient demographics and on the complexity of the healthcare decision. Most patients have a much greater personal investment in their own well-being and treatments than the providers in the healthcare industry do and are willing to devote more time to understanding and determining diagnosis and treatment.
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Healthcare Consumerism: Big Opportunities, Bigger Challenges
Delivering high-quality, accessible, and affordable care are some of the key challenges faced by healthcare systems globally. Healthcare delivery systems must be equipped to address these challenges via the evolving healthcare delivery models. This blog explores some of the new healthcare delivery models and how they are designed to meet the unique needs of complex patients, ensure consistent adoption of best clinical practices, gives greater emphasis on delivering care in the most efficient way, and the changing focus to outcomes rather than inputs.
New healthcare delivery models
Out-of-hospital delivery models
Proactive and intensive care for complex conditions
There has been a rapid rise in the number of people diagnosed with long term and complex conditions in the last decade. These conditions are driven by increasingly unhealthy lifestyles and ageing populations. Healthcare delivery systems must identify more proactive ways to manage these patients in the community as well as in their homes. For instance, there are healthcare delivery models in the US that provides holistic care for older patients with multiple long-term conditions through a one-stop-shop. Here, the patients have access to a range of specialists and expanded primary care. Such establishments have not only improved patient outcomes for older and poorer patients, but also reduced hospitalization rates, readmissions, and provided better care and outcomes.
Access to urgent medical care
One of the key challenges faced by every health care system is to avoid unnecessary admissions into their emergency departments. Our healthcare industry analysis in the UK and several other European countries suggest that easy access to high-quality primary care has a real impact on patients. For example, there was a reduction in emergency attendance in Central London with the introduction of general practitioner services seven days a week.
Local access to care for children
Several providers are adopting healthcare delivery models that involve redesigning local services for children to provide high-quality care supported by a network of specialists made available when children and their families most need it. A typical pediatric services model includes one inpatient unit per one million people. It is supported by a network of pediatric assessments units with a 14/7 access to high-quality primary children’s care services. These services include same-day telephone consultations for children with a primary care professional, a telephone hotline for these professionals to seek advice from a consultant pediatrician, and also outreach clinics to treat children with complex health needs and thereby avoid hospital referrals.
Hospital healthcare delivery models
Specialist centers of excellence
Healthcare delivery models in the form of specialist centers for stroke, cardiac arrest, cancer, and major trauma services are seen to phenomenally successful in the UK. The scale is also achieved through a chain or franchising across multiple sites. These specialist centers have shown immense progress in terms of ensuring adequate care and high-quality treatment to patients.
The success of healthcare delivery models in the form of smaller hospitals requires creative thinking on the workforce along with a recognition that not every hospital has a full range of acute services. These establishments cater to the specific healthcare services such as emergency services or surgery, ensure shorter wait time and faster availability of treatment for patients.
Common characteristics of successful healthcare delivery models