Slideshow Health Care Trends for 2012

  • November 16 2011, 10:11am EST
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Health Care Trends for 2012

The PricewaterhouseCooper's Health Research Institute has released its annual forecast of top health care trends in 2012, along with consumer data from online surveys of 1,000 U.S. adults. Following are forecasts and key consumer findings that could shape next year’s HIT market.

Defining and Paying for Value: Theory Becomes Reality

In light of pressure to wring costs out of the health system, health organizations must demonstrate they are delivering better value; those that don’t will be penalized.

* Half (52 percent) of those surveyed indicated they would be interested in a value-based insurance plan, such as one in which treatments known to be effective would cost little but new treatments with benefits that have not been proven to be effective would cost more.

• Nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of people surveyed believe that health plans should offer a wide range of hospitals, doctors and treatment options to choose from.

* Yet, nearly half (47%) would rather have a health plan that costs less and offers fewer doctors and hospitals to choose from than a higher cost plan with greater choice.

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Providers and Insurers Team up for Population Health

Health insurers committed more than $2 billion in the last year to acquire or align with physician groups, clinics, and hospitals, according to PwC.

As a result, Investments in health informatics are ramping up for data-sharing partnerships--the global market for advanced analytics /business intelligence tools is estimated to grow to approximately $313 million by 2013, with the United States expected to be about half that market.

In 2012, health organizations will invest considerably in health informatics and form data-sharing partnerships with organizations that have a mutual interest in new uses of information.

* Nearly three-fourths (72 percent) of people surveyed said they would prefer a health organization that provides a wide range of comprehensive health-related activities and services, including medical care, insurance and pharmacy benefit.

* Thirty-eight percent of people believe that a more integrated care delivery model would help to lower the cost of healthcare, and 36 percent expect the quality of care would increase.

Consumer Comfort with Data Sharing

Six in ten people surveyed said they would be comfortable having their personal health information shared among health organizations, including hospitals, doctors, insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies, if it would help to improve the coordination of their care.

The purposes for which they would be comfortable with that are:

* To improve coordination of my care: 60%

* To support real-time decision making for my care: 54%

* To support analysis of my doctor’s performance: 36%

* To provide data to identify groups/patients who are at risk: 29%

HOWEVER, Privacy and Security Become a Billboard for New Business

If cost, quality and access were equal, clear privacy and security policies was cited as the most important consideration in choosing one hospital over another, even more important than the hospitals use of electronic health records.

Reasons for choosing a hospital:t

If the hospital had clear privacy and security policies: 30%

If there were the capability for online consultations with my doctor: 28%

Other, please specify (included doctor recommendations, location): 20%

If the hospital used electronic health records: 17%

If the hospital had a social media presence: 5%

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State Insurance Exchanges

More than half (52%) of survey respondents who are familiar with the health insurance exchanges said they believe it will be easier to find and purchase a competitive health plan when the exchange markets open to consumers in 2014.

Among those who are familiar, 41% said they would have a less favorable impression of a health insurance company that chose not to participate in their state’s health exchange market.

Social Media Plays a Bigger Role

Nearly one-third of survey respondents (32%), including half of people under the age of 35, have used social media channels for healthcare purposes, such as connecting with health organizations and other people with shared health interests.

Social media outlets used:

Facebook: 18%

Youtube: 12%

Blogs: 9%

Google Plus: 8%

Twitter: 6%

WebMD: 4%

LinkedIn: 4%

MySpace: 4%

foursquare 2%

Forecast: Drug Shortage Wars

Concerns about patient care and safety grow as drug shortages multiply. Two separate studies conducted in 2010 and 2011 found that 99% of U.S. hospitals had experienced one or more drug shortages.

Even with advanced planning, in 2010 hospitals spent an estimated $200 million on expensive, last-minute substitutes, not factoring in gray market purchases--those with inexplicable quantities of drugs in short supply.

Premier, a group purchasing alliance, estimated an average price premium of 650% for unsolicited drug sales to its member hospitals.

Real-time drug inventory systems can help manufacturers anticipate patient demand and minimize reliance on gray market vendors, according to the report.

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Access the Full Report

The full report from PwC’s Health Research Institute is available at