Top Health Industry Issues of 2011

2011 is a makeover year for health industry organizations reacting to and preparing for new rules and payment models. Continuing cost pressures and new customer demands require a fresh look at existing roles of industry players.

This issue is one of six health industry issues for 2011. For the full Top Health Industry Issues of 2011 report, please see www.PwC.com/us/TopIssues2011

Issue #6 Highlights:

Follow-me healthcare: Patients look to health organizations that are always on

Rapid innovation and the adoption of digital technologies are dramatically changing customer expectations of the health industry. Physicians and patients expect increasing amounts of health-related information, anytime and anywhere. Organizations realize that the best way to influence outcomes is to engage patients. And to engage them, the industry needs to understand how patients want to connect.

Although healthcare organizations are spending tons of resources to produce online content, individuals seek healthcare information from third-party media and information service companies three and a half times more than any other online health information source (See Figure 6). What patients really like about these sites is the ability to customize their interactions with them. To crack the patient engagement code, health organizations should resist trying to redirect individuals and instead follow them through solutions that extend their current actions.

Figure 6

Individuals surveyed said they use online tools and resources (54%) second only to consulting a physician (75%) when gathering information on treatments and conditions. Mobile health monitoring on the person or at the home is another area of opportunity to connect to patients. Eighty-eight percent of physicians surveyed said they would like their patients to track their health information, and 40% of individuals would buy a personal health monitoring device or pay for a monthly subscription to send health information to their providers.

Pharmaceutical companies have nearly perfected their ability to deliver sophisticated, customized treatment information to physicians, through both in-person and electronic detailing. However, the information flow to patients is less reliable. Patients haven't been as open to seeking this information from pharmaceutical companies. According to the PwC survey, only 11% of individuals said they would go to a pharmaceutical company to gather information on healthcare treatments or conditions. And only 11% of individuals said they would alert a pharmaceutical company directly if they had a bad reaction to a drug.

Pharma companies have typically been removed from the end customers, but some are seeing opportunities to become more visible and boost revenues at the same time.

Look for more discussion in the full Top health industry issues of 2011 report www.PwC.com/us/TopIssues2011

Implications:

  • Individuals engage with organizations they trust and in ways that fit their lifestyles. Gaining customer interaction IQ by capturing behavioral insight and interaction data will boost the health industry's ability to activate them in wellness, prevention, or chronic disease management. This will be particularly important as new population management models (e.g., accountable care organizations) emerge that balance consumer choice with managed accountability.
  • Information about poor results from medication can now easily go viral. Pharma companies can monitor social media channels as one avenue of information retrieval and communication.
  • As more payers turn to performance-based pay, the business model for providers and pharma/device companies centers on improving care through connectivity and better information that leads to healthier outcomes and greater efficiency.

Subject matter specialist

Karla Stricker Anderson

US Pharmaceuticals & Life Sciences Practice

Show details Karla Stricker Anderson

Chris Wasden

US Healthcare Provider Practice

Show details Chris Wasden