PwC Report: Consumerization is Coming to Healthcare

The PricewaterhouseCoopers Health Research Institute recently released a report called Healthcare’s new entrants: Who will be the industry’s Amazon.com? It’s a great read for anyone who’s trying to make sense of the shifting healthcare marketplace, not to mention anyone who’s looking to select a healthcare vendor, invest in the sector, or even look for employment in the field. This richly illustrated report makes a couple of top-line points:

1)      In the U.S. we have a $2.8 trillion healthcare system, and

2)      That system is fragmented, and we’re not getting our money’s worth

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But not to fear! New entrants to the healthcare marketplace – companies from tech-savvy industries, some of whom have been around for a while – are continuing to enter (and disrupt) the space. The report states that 24 of the most recent Fortune 50 companies are considered new entrants to healthcare in some way. That’s significant because of another point that PwC makes: that many other industries have been remade and many complacent incumbents have been toppled at times when consumers wanted change that was not being delivered.

And as the report’s title implies, consumers (or “patients”, or “people”) are going to be pulling the train. Many have expressed this sentiment before – the notion that the traditional healthcare experience will become consumerized, so that healthcare will start to feel like using Amazon.com. Meaning, the healthcare tools we use will make predictions and recommendations based on our individual preferences and behaviors, which could lead to more timely interventions and better outcomes. We know there’s infinite data out there, so now it’s largely a matter of harnessing and parsing that data to shape a better experience.

It’s all part of what PwC calls the “New Health Economy,” which promises to be the biggest shift in American healthcare in generations. It won’t happen overnight and it won’t be seamless, but it’s a necessary next step and consumers are calling the shots, whether we really know it or not.

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