Imagine watching $64 billion in revenue walk — quite literally — out the door.
A report released today by PwC’s Health Research Institute suggests that at least that much money is at risk of being siphoned off of traditional health care providers by so-called new entrants, companies that are “attuned to the needs and desires of empowered consumers.”
“These new entrants — from retail, technology, telecommunications, consumer products and automotive industries — are fashioning the contours of this expanding market,” the report states. (Wait, automotive? In 2011, Ford announced that it was researching in-car applications to help patients with chronic conditions manage their diseases while driving.)
PwC researchers surveyed consumers to assess their readiness to ditch traditional health care services for more modern, convenient and tech-friendly operations. The results, says Vaughn Kauffman, a principal in PwC’s health industry practice, should serve as a “wake-up call” for health care executives.
As consumers bear more of the cost of care, they’re ready to not only be more active participants, but to view all of their options, Kauffman says. Why not visit the retail clinic for your kid’s earache, or better yet, your smartphone?
CellScope, a San Francisco-based company, developed technology that enables consumers to take high-quality medical images on their smartphones and share them with a clinician, or check them against images online.
I know I would rather be able to take a medical-grade image of my kid’s ear canal and send it to the doctor for immediate review than take half a day off of work and sit around a waiting room with a bunch of coughing and hacking toddlers. Of course, there’s still that pesky question about payment. mHealth is great and cool, but until the reimbursement mechanism is figured out, I’m a little skeptical that providers will fully embrace the concept.
The PwC report, aptly named “Healthcare’s new entrants: Who will be the industry’s Amazon.com?” covers a lot of ground and explores a number of options that are quickly becoming available to savvy consumers. Kauffman stopped by our offices earlier this week to discuss some of the key findings. Importantly, he also has some tips for how health care executives can position their organizations to be a part of this new economy.