PwC names top 10 healthcare issues for 2012

PwC's Health Research Institute has predicted the top 10 issues facing healthcare in the coming year. Insurance exchanges, consumer trepidation, drug shortages and the need for organizations to prove value promise to be among the hallmarks of a 'seminal' year.

All these will continue to evolve against a backdrop of political and economic uncertainty in the United States, according to PwC. In response, the firm predicts that diverse healthcare organizations will "join forces in new collaborative business arrangements," and gird themselves with contingency plans for "legislative wildcards."

[See also: PwC forecasts 8.5 percent increase in healthcare costs for employers in 2012.]

With the presidential elections looming, the Health Research Institute polled 1,000 adults and found nationwide agreement about many healthcare issues:

  • Healthcare and the national deficit rank equally as the second most pressing election concern after job creation on the minds of the American public.
  • With out-of-pocket costs rising, nearly half (46 percent) of people surveyed by PwC said that at least once this past year they decided not to seek healthcare or pay for pharmaceuticals because of cost, and one in 10 deferred care on at least five occasions.

"2012 will be a seminal year for the health industries as businesses wade through economic, regulatory and political uncertainty," said Kelly Barnes, U.S. health industries practice leader at PwC. "One of the ways the health industry is responding to these uncertainties is by connecting in new ways with each other and their consumers as they rethink existing business models and previous notions about competition, cooperation and collaboration."

PwC's top issues for healthcare in 2012: