Five years post-recession, more confident consumers – many newly insured – are revisiting doctors and driving up US health spending. Costly new cures today could result in long-term cost savings and improved quality of life. Even the large IT investments made now by merged health systems will eventually lead to savings through greater efficiency.
Other factors in the growth rate appear more durable, especially those that change behavior. Health systems and hospitals striving for “systemness,” for instance, are instilling a new philosophy about care delivery. More price savvy consumers shopping for value are also becoming affixed to the health culture.