What are some implications of the PWC report?

The more than 400 "thought-leaders" and health care executives surveyed and interviewed by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) for its HealthCast 2010: Smaller World, Bigger Expectations report identified three forces of change driving the health care industry in the future:

• An empowered consumer will result in impatient patients.

• E-business adaptability equals survival.

• Genomics and biotech advances will shift the health care system from cure to prevention.

Next, the report describes four future trends that will result from the three forces of change:

• Health insurance financing trends are converging.

• Health processes will be standardized.

• Work forces must adapt to technology and empowered patients.

• The interaction between aging, technology and consumerism will force policy-makers to make difficult choices.

Finally, by analyzing the forces and trends, the report arrives at 12 implications for health care organizations. Each implication also carries a number of action items that health care organizations can take to work toward needed changes.

These implications are:

1. Health care organizations that are consumer-friendly will be winners.

2. Organizations must distinguish themselves through branding.

3. Service and speed will be keys to consumer satisfaction.

4. New e-business models will emerge and challenge present-day medicine delivery vehicles.

5. The race for capital will hinge on the ability to demonstrate quality, efficiency, and customer focus.

6. Functional silos in health care must be eliminated and replaced with seamless service.

7. Resources must be reallocated to retrain the work force to deal with empowered consumers and technology.

8. Payers must stress prevention because early detection and intervention will increase costs.

9. Consumers will want more and won’t want to pay for it.

10. New opportunities for private health insurers outside the United States will expand rapidly.

11. Medical professionals need to work toward global standards of medical treatment.

12. Ethical dilemmas will proliferate for consumers, providers, and purchasers.

(For more information about these implications and their action items, visit PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Web site at http://www.pwchealth.com/healthcast 2010/index.html.)