2015 Global health care 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.
And rising they are. Health spending is estimated to have increased by 2.8 percent in 2013 – an uptick from two percent in 2012 – to total $7.2 trillion, or 10.6 percent of global gross domestic product (GDP). As the global economy recovers from prolonged recession, health spending is expected to accelerate, rising an average of 5.2 percent a year in 2014-2018, to $9.3 trillion. This increase will be driven by the health needs of aging and growing populations, the rising prevalence of chronic diseases, emerging-market expansion, infrastructure improvements, and treatment and technology advances.
Yet even as demand rises, the pressure to reduce costs and demonstrate value is intensifying. As a result of these contradictory forces, spending is likely to increase slightly more slowly than in the past decade, when growth averaged seven percent a year.
Despite an overall focus on cost containment, some markets are projected to experience rapid spending growth as public and private health care systems develop. This expansion in developing markets – especially in Asia and the Middle East – may bring opportunities for international hospital chains, pharmaceutical and medical technology companies seeking geographic and revenue growth. Globalisation, however, is likely to bring problems, too, as countries struggle to make sure they have sufficient health care workers, facilities, and supplies to care for patients at a manageable cost.
As they endeavour to balance competing priorities, health care stakeholders are also working to achieve common goals: innovate in new and exciting ways, and generate scientific, medical, and care delivery breakthroughs that can improve the health of people worldwide. This 2015 global health care outlook examines the current state of the sector, describes the top issues facing stakeholders, and suggests considerations for the future.