As a result of growing competition, changing customer demands, regulation, technological innovation and costs pressures the healthcare market finds itself in a state of flux. “Today’s healthcare market is changing, bringing about a new space where enormous value for patients can be created,” says Gérard Klop, Managing Partner of consulting firm Vintura. “The question is, which players in the healthcare system will step into that space and claim it?”
Klop points out that in today’s healthcare market, “patients receive products, services and information from various stakeholders in a separated manner, and even budgets are split.” He believes that this results in inefficiencies, lack of communication and transparency, and confusion amongst patients.
“There is a clear need for, and value to be gained by, the provision of total healthcare solutions to patients around specific (chronic) disease areas,” he says. “In a complex and regulated eco-system like healthcare, composed of many different stakeholders, future outlooks are sometimes hard to make and changes are normally relatively slow. However considering multiple trends, instead of being conflicting, they all add up to a similar point at the horizon. The healthcare industry is indeed moving from separated delivery of products, services and information towards providing total healthcare solutions.”
“However, the notion of integral disease solutions and propositions has serious consequences for healthcare stakeholders and funding mechanisms. Two questions arise: Who is going to deliver these integral solutions? And who is going to pay for (elements of) these solutions, especially when not evidence-based but still very convenient for the patient?”
Klop believes that in the future the patient will be a, if not the main, funding source for add-on services and solutions. The parts that go beyond the fundamental therapy or treatment, such as the elements that improve convenience of care and/or quality of life, could potentially be either co-paid or completely privately paid in the future.
“The good news is that this will bring a new additional funding mechanism into the healthcare system, but even more important, increase patient empowerment as well as patient centricity of health solution providers and suppliers,” he goes on to say. The question of who will deliver the integral solutions is a more interesting question for the mid-term. Who will be the orchestrator bringing various products, services and data together into added value disease- and patient-centered solutions?
There are three or four main candidates, according to Klop. “Healthcare providers, which seems the most logical as they already have this position and are generally regarded to play this role. One disadvantage is that there is generally a lot of inertia and lack of entrepreneurship in the healthcare provider environment. Second, product suppliers. The life science industry has the most interest to play this role, but it needs to prove it can be a trusted partner. Third, data information service providers. And fourth, payers. Are they going to be the big orchestrator? They will definitely be orchestrating indirectly, money talks, but will they also play a more active role? So far they have a “watch and see” approach, but will they become more pro-active once this integrator market develops and becomes more mature?”
Only time will tell which player or players can best position themselves as the Healthcare Integrator. “Probably it will start with a mixed landscape with many initiatives mushrooming, later on to be consolidated by the most dominant players. One thing is for sure, we are facing very dynamic, challenging and interesting times in healthcare. If you want to become the Healthcare Integrator of the future, the time is now to prepare the ground. Define your therapeutic area of expertise, the value you could bring to the system, which stakeholders you would need to collaborate with, and get out there to start to position yourself. The battle is on!” Klop concludes.
Gérard Klop founded Vintura in 2000. The Netherlands-based advisory firm provides management consultancy services to European clients in the life sciences, pharma and healthcare sectors.