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Can your company capitalize on the growing healthcare market?

Arundhati Parmar on June 14, 2011 Source: MedCityNews.com

A new report by PricewaterhouseCoopers has found that four types of companies can take advantage of the huge opportunity that healthcare epitomizes in the coming years.

Titled the New Gold Rush, the report found that by 2019, healthcare spending will account for 20 percent of the U.S. economy. The opportunity is coming from new products and services that the market has seen — they are health-related video games, services that rate hospitals and healthcare mobile applications, among others. PwC’s Health Research Institute surveyed consumers and found that cumulatively they would be willing to spend more than $13 billion of their own money annually on those new services.

Those who can capitalize on the healthcare market’s rapid growth fall into one of four categories, the report found — the fixers, the implementers, the retailers and the connectors.

1. Fixers attack the parts of the system that are dysfunctional, bifurcated and unsustainable. They search for opportunities to improve processes so as to reduce costs in a wasteful system. Their work can help traditional health companies become stronger.

2. Implementers thrive on government spending programs, new regulations and established industry standards. They understand that the industry is converging, and they are able to work across traditional sectors toward the government’s aim to achieve a more integrated model.

3. Retailers prosper in high-volume, standardized markets with low margins. They use their deep customer relationships and ubiquitous access to serve new markets, such as primary care.

4. Connectors succeed by linking information and technology across the health system. They provide meaningful analysis and context so that clinicians and consumers can make better decisions about health behaviors.

Other findings of the survey include:

  • 76 percent of Fortune 50 companies are in the health industry or have a health division
  • Almost one-third of adults in the U.S. have an interest in healthcare employment
  • 56 percent of consumers use media and information service companies as their primary online healthcare resources rather than government or traditional health company resources
  • Use of retail health clinics almost doubled in the past three years from 10 percent in 2007 to 17 percent in 2010

The report issues a caveat, though: The healthcare industry with its myriad rules and regulations is complex and requires thorough understanding. Not for the “faint of heart.”

The report prepared by PwC’s Health Research Institute was based on a thorough literature review, in-depth interviews and an online survey of more than 1,000 consumers of different ages and gender.

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