December 03, 2019 - 643 views|
The disaggregation of healthcare presents both promise and peril to biopharma and medical device companies. Here's how to succeed in the new ecosystem.
In discussions with our clients, it’s become apparent that one of the greatest changes we’re witnessing in healthcare is the disaggregation (or unbundling) of care. Historically, access to and delivery of healthcare took place primarily in doctors’ offices, hospitals and clinics. However, changes in consumer sentiment and advances in technology are creating a far more diverse and widely distributed landscape of wellness and treatment options, including wearables, remote monitoring, urgent care clinics and retail medicine.
The implications of the disaggregation of healthcare are huge, and opportunities abound for savvy and innovative biopharma and medical device companies, along with new entrants to healthcare. The first step in taking advantage of the change, as ever, is to understand its dimensions.
The Unbundling of Care
Just as software and hardware have combined in smartphones to forever change how we bank, shop and engage with friends, entrepreneurs and corporate behemoths are using these same capabilities to revamp where and how we access care. Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, which expanded healthcare access to over 22 million U.S. consumers, and the 2013 Mobile Medical Applications guidance document released by the FDA and revised in 2019, retail and app-based care solutions have exploded.
As of 2018, an estimated 3,000 retail clinics were operating in the U.S., and over 300,000 health apps are now available, with nearly four billion downloads in 2017 alone. These advances are driving expanded access to care in urban areas and maintaining or expanding care in rural regions. In addition, advances in state licensure are allowing more nurse practitioners, physician assistants and registered nurses to deliver healthcare services.
The disaggregation of healthcare is occurring simultaneously with other significant, sometimes evolutionary shifts:
Cloudy & Cool: The Disaggregation Forecast
The disaggregation of healthcare presents both promise and peril to biopharma and medical device companies. On the positive side is the expansion of the market and the opportunity to help more people live healthier lives. On the negative side, it can result in healthier lives being realized through nontherapeutic interventions, negating the need for biopharma or medical device treatments. Further, when a clinical intervention is required, activities and data from outside the clinical setting are needed to document that a clear health outcome – aka, value – has been realized by the patient.
To succeed in a disaggregated care environment, biopharma and life sciences companies need to focus on these areas:
We’ll look at the disaggregation of healthcare further in future months. In the meantime, our next blogpost explores one of the themes mentioned above: the rapidly emerging value-based care paradigm.