Analysis

2015 Global health care sector outlook

Common goals, competing priorities

Across the globe, governments, health care delivery systems, insurers, and consumers are engaged in a persistent tug-of-war between competing priorities: meeting the increasing demand for health care services and reducing the rising cost of those services.

This report examines the current issues impacting the global health care sector, provides a snapshot of activity in a number of geographic markets, and suggests considerations for stakeholders as they look ahead to 2015.

Top sectors issue in 2015

The global health care sector outlook for 2015 is mixed. Treatment advancements and government initiatives to increase access to care should drive sector expansion but pressure to reduce costs is escalating. Growing populations and consumer wealth are increasing demand for health care services but aging societies and chronic diseases are forcing health payers to make difficult decisions on benefit levels. In the midst of this tug-of-war, many historic business models and operating processes will no longer suffice. Read on to learn more about trends impacting the global health care sector in 2015 and suggested considerations for stakeholders. Four major trends are anticipated to impact stakeholders along the global health care value chain in 2015: cost, adapting to market forces, transformation and digital innovation, and regulations and compliance. 

Cost

Cost is the biggest health care issue facing most countries in 2015. Pressure to contain costs and demonstrate value is coming from all sides. Political uncertainty, persistent economic stress, and austerity measures in numerous countries are calling into question the sustainability of public health care funding. In addition, questions and concerns exist about the amount of funding needed to better align supply to demand and, in particular, how to fund integration and primary care while meeting increasing demands for acute activity. Also, the high cost of targeted therapies, personalized medicine, genetic-based medicine, medical devices, and other advances continues to add to the health care cost burden along with the impact of waste, fraud, and abuse. 

Adapting to market forces

Change is requiring providers and health plans to rethink traditional business models to better address shifting or emerging health care challenges and opportunities.

Increasing role of government – Governments’ pivotal – and growing – role as payer, regulator, and market-shaper in the global health care sector cannot be understated.

Scale to prosper – Converging market forces are setting the stage for what may be a period of rapid consolidation among health care providers, particularly in the U.S. Both vertical and horizontal consolidation has been increasing, despite heightened regulatory scrutiny. In addition, cross-sector convergence is expected to rise with the shift towards an “eco-system” of product and service providers.

Competition for talent – As their populations and health care needs grow both developed and developing countries are struggling to supply adequate numbers of trained, qualified health care professionals, especially physicians and nurses.

Improving access to care – Workforce shortages, patint location, lack of health care infrastructure in certain countries, and outdated facilities in both developed and developing markets are major contributors to health care access problems around the world.

Consumerism – Patients facing large deductibles and cost-sharing for medical treatments and services – including specialty pharmaceuticals and medical devices – are becoming more cost-conscious and more involved in their health care decisions.  

Transformation & digital innovation

Adoption of new digital HIT advances such as electronic health records, mHealth, telemedicine and predictive analytics is transforming the way physicians, payers, patients, and other health care stakeholders interact. Digital innovations like additive manufacturing, artificial intelligence, diagnostic devices and wearables are helping to facilitate new diagnostic and treatment options, increase process efficiency, and reduce costs. Technology advancements are also connecting developed and emerging markets — and participants along the health care value chain. These changes may be rapid and, in some parts of the world, disruptive to established health care models. However, their potential to improve the care process is already being seen. 

Regulations & compliance

The global health care regulatory landscape is complex and evolving. The primary driver is patient health and safety; however authorities’ approaches to protecting patients can vary widely from country to country. Adding to this complexity are factors including rapid clinical and technology changes; increased scrutiny by governments, the media, and consumers; more sophisticated risk-monitoring techniques; and coordination across agencies and regions. Payment transparency is also taking center stage. Protected health information impacted by security breaches and cyber attacks will also continue to be of importance to stakeholder. 

Market updates

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2015 Global Health Care Outlook

Deloitte 2015 Global health care sector outlook infographic

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