Top 10 healthcare issues for 2014

PwC announces its annual list of top issues facing the healthcare industry in 2014

Empowered consumers, rapid innovation and increasing competition are among PwC’s top health industry issues for 2014, the company announced last week during a webinar.

In order to identify the top 10 business issues facing the U.S. healthcare sector this year, PwC analyzed polling data collected from 1,000 consumers and interviews with healthcare industry experts in the fall of 2013.

[See also: 4 healthcare hot topics in 2014]

The top 10 issues are:

1. Companies rethink their roles in the new health economy

2. Corporate funds invade healthcare venture capital space

3. Employers explore private exchanges

4. Industry picks up the pace of price transparency

5. Social, mobile, analytics and cloud come together

6. Technology is the new workforce multiplier

7. Twenty-first century tools refresh clinical trials

8. Fail fast, frequently and frugally for true innovation

9. States pursue Medicaid managed long-term care

10. New rules combat counterfeit drugs

Consumers are a bigger influence than ever, the PwC said, pushing for price transparency and exercising choice, forcing healthcare companies to adapt.

This year, the PwC believes that consumers will begin to demand better customer service through integrated social, mobile analytics and cloud technologies. Currently, only 18 percent of companies are maximizing the use of smartphones apps to integrate patient data into clinician workflows and EHRs, and only 27 percent of physicians are encouraging patients to use mobile health applications, according to the report.

[See also: U.S. health spending to jump in 2014]

Ceci Connolly, managing director of the Health Research Institute, said during last week’s webinar that when it comes to price transparency for consumers, businesses are striking exclusive arrangements with providers for high-value care, and the federal government has opened its books on what hospitals bill for relatively common treatments.