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New report finds health-care market awash in opportunity

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

Entitled, the New Gold Rush, the report found that by 2019, health-care 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 — health-related video games, services that rate hospitals and health-care 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 health-care market’s rapid growth fall into one of four categories, the report found: the fixers, the implementers, the retailers and the connectors. According to the report:

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 United States have an interest in health-care employment
  • 56 percent of consumers use media and information service companies as their primary online health-care 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 health-care 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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