Friday, May 21, 2021

Six Trends to Watch in the New Healthcare Economy

Today’s guest post comes from Karen Eckert, Senior Manager of Commercial Support for Clinical Effectiveness at Wolters Kluwer, Health. She also serves as co-chair of Maintenance and Control at the NCPDP.

Karen examines trends in drug development, pricing, and healthcare. She explains how coordinated intelligence can help businesses improve effectiveness in the new healthcare economy.

To learn more, download Six trends and tactics to thrive in the new healthcare economy, a free white paper from Wolters Kluwer.

Read on for Karen’s insights.

Six Trends to Watch in the New Healthcare Economy
By Karen Eckert, RPh, Senior Manager of Commercial Support for Clinical Effectiveness at Wolters Kluwer, Health

The pace of innovation, the rise of consumerism, an aging population, and the movement toward price transparency means healthcare companies must become more agile and insightful than ever. Six trends have emerged as the top issues affecting healthcare businesses today.


As health systems transform to data-driven cultures under pressure to improve care and reduce costs, healthcare companies must develop clearly defined information management strategies. For pharma, this can help create a more patient-centric framework that experts believe can result in development and clinical trials that are more targeted and effective—in terms of costs and efficacy.

In other arenas, when integrated into public health research models, big data can better forecast risk factors and plan preventive measures. The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, for example, is using analytics to provide a holistic view of clinical, financial, payer and genomic information for its 700+ care sites and 3.5 million health plan members. By applying predictive analytics to proactively manage care, its CIO says, the organization was able to create a plan that helped address immediate care needs and led to fewer readmissions.


As the pandemic continues, Bain & Co. estimates global healthcare profits will grow at roughly 5% annually in the next five years. Causes include the increasing average age of the population, which brings with it an increase in chronic illness and income. Also increasing is access to healthcare, innovation in treatment and technology, and likely, pricing.

Although COVID-19 disrupted the healthcare ecosystem, it also accelerated four major opportunities for investment: alternative sites of care, telemedicine, modernization of clinical trials, and healthcare provider consolidation.


The growing care role of pharmacists during the pandemic provides a preview of how they can more fully contribute to public health moving forward.

Community pharmacists can seize the moment, note leaders in the pharmacy industry, and position themselves as “concierge” caregivers, providing primary care services for patients and charging for it.

However, many insurer reimbursement models do not currently compensate pharmacists for such a level of service, a debate which is likely to be revisited, particularly considering that during the pandemic some pharmacists were the prime in-person access to healthcare. Since many patients still are not visiting their providers or having as much contact with them, pharmacists remain crucial caregivers for patients with chronic medical conditions.


Given the convenience of telehealth and the surge in its adoption precipitated by COVID-19, as well as the focus on value-based care, providers such as those in many Medicare Advantage plans, will likely encourage their members to continue to use telehealth as appropriate going forward.

Healthcare companies, including pharmacies, PBMs, and providers, will need to sharpen their data analytic capabilities to remain competitive in the telehealth space.


Studies show that 81% of adults over 65 have more than one chronic condition, and that patients with one to four chronic conditions have 9-24 prescriptions filled each year. That is likely to place a great deal of pressure on retail pharmacies and pharmacists.

With large volumes of scripts to fill in limited time, only 35% of pharmacists agree that the work environment is conducive to safe and effective patient care, according to the Pharmacy Quality Assurance (PQA) Commission. According to a 2019 Direct Scripts report, pharmacies have an average fill quality level of 96%, a percentage which is below many businesses’ stated quality goals, resulting in 200.4 million fill errors annually.

6. ENGAGING PATIENTS TO IMPROVE ADHERENCE Quest Diagnostics discovered approximately $1 in every $9 of total U.S. healthcare spending is wasted due to nonadherence.

Online patient engagement tools, such as patient portals, can play a significant role in increasing engagement in chronic disease management and preventive care, according to researchers from Kaiser Permanente. A separate meta-analysis that analyzed different text-messaging designs in 16 random controlled trials concluded that text messaging doubled the odds of medication adherence and improved overall adherence rates by 17.8%.

Understanding the evolving healthcare landscape is the first step. Next, is identifying key tactics to help you not only survive this era of healthcare disruption but thrive in it. Visit our website for more information.

To learn more, download Six trends and tactics to thrive in the new healthcare economy, a free white paper from Wolters Kluwer.

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