A year of resilience amid uncertainty
In year two of the Trump administration, healthcare leaders will be adjusting their strategies to focus on investments, collaborations and efficiencies that build enterprise resilience on a baseline of continued uncertainty. Healthcare players, including the White House, Congress, state lawmakers, industry groups and patient advocates, will continue to parry, feint and thrust, which will likely result in additional policy changes. Healthcare providers and insurers in particular should anticipate the changes as they come. Beyond health reform, additional risks and uncertainties are moving to center stage, as is the consumer, and the health industry is being forced to act.
In its 12th year, PwC Health Research Institute’s annual report highlights the 12 forces that will have the most impact on the industry in 2018.
Opioids are the leading cause of death for US adults younger than 50, with roughly 64,000 overdose deaths in 2016, up from 52,000 in 2015. Nearly half of those deaths involved a prescription opioid. Despite the ongoing drumbeat of concern— from policymakers, healthcare organizations and consumer advocates—the crisis has proven complex, with no quick fixes.
Internet-connected medical devices are holding the health system together—playing critical roles in such tasks as patient care, medical records and billing—but each connected device is a potential door for cybercriminals.
Healthcare providers have succeeded in making administrative tasks easier and more convenient for patients. Patients can pay bills online, and they get appointment reminders by email or text. But 2018 will be about redesigning patient experience so it changes behavior and improves outcomes—a critical goal as the industry turns toward paying more for value, not volume. Some healthcare organizations also will begin to use patient experience to differentiate markets.