With the healthcare sector evolving into a full-fledged vertical of the services market, a wide range of challenging requirements have emerged. Having to meet the growing demand for healthcare services, coupled with the need to reduce prices is just the tip of the iceberg.
Some of the most pressing demands of the healthcare services market today include the following:
- Delivering better healthcare services at lower costs
Managing the rising cost of healthcare is one of the greatest challenges which the US faces today. A recent report from the United States government predicted that healthcare spending will reach approximately 20% of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) by the year 2024. The aging American population and the increased incidence of chronic diseases are the major reasons behind the surge in the cost of healthcare services.
The US tops the list of industrialized nations when it comes to healthcare spending per citizen. With the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), the nation’s healthcare spending is likely to reach approximately 18% of the GDP by 2018. The spending of other countries in North America is also expected to grow at an annual average of 4%.
- Collaboration of various healthcare verticals
One of the most effective ways to provide “360 degree” healthcare service is to bring together all the different groups involved in patient care. In many cases, healthcare service providers only pay attention to a particular disease/ treatment instead of focusing on the overall well-being of the patient. For better delivery of services, it is imperative that a comprehensive approach is adopted by connecting several (if possible, all) verticals of healthcare.
Collaboration can begin with the primary care and secondary care segments, and gradually move to the integration of healthcare and community care, followed by the integration of the service provider with the payer. This kind of integration is especially beneficial for those patients suffering from chronic illnesses and / or require long term care because it provides them with a “one-stop consulting” service platform. This approach also ensures the intelligent use of healthcare resources.
- Integration of Health and Information Technology
Another major demand of the healthcare services market is the integration of health and information technology, more commonly known as health information technology or HIT. Several advocates of HIT claim that the US is far behind its counterparts when it comes to using electronic medical resources (EMRs), personal health records, and physician order entry systems.
Digital innovations such as mobile health (mHealth), additive manufacturing (AM), predictive analytics, and telemedicine are some of the best ways for patients, physicians, payers and other healthcare stakeholders to interact. Not only does HIT facilitate new diagnostic and treatment options, it also improves the quality of and access to healthcare services. Most importantly, several surveys have found that HIT plays a critical role in reducing the cost of treatment.
Innovation is perhaps the greatest and most challenging demand of the healthcare service market. Lack of innovation on the medical and healthcare front is often regarded by experts as a great lacuna in the system, especially when it comes to the US healthcare segment. From innovation in drug manufacturing to adopting a disruptive innovation strategy for the community healthcare sector, the healthcare services market is looking for ways to tackle healthcare issues in an effective and time-efficient manner.
These are just some of the demands of the healthcare services market in both the US and around the globe. Working diligently to meet these demands is sure to have a significant impact on the healthcare services sector.