The healthcare sector is one of the fastest growing ones among all the industries. While the population of the world is growing at an alarming rate, the number and types of diseases that are affecting man have also increased manifold. In the face of this, the growth rate of the healthcare and pharmaceutical industry is not likely to decelerate any time soon. As a matter of fact, the potential for this industry to grow is almost limitless. And major corporations from around the world are eager to have their share of the pie. New trends are emerging, affecting not only the core healthcare industry, but the consultancy sector as well. To survive in a market rife with as much potential as competition, keeping abreast of the trends is winning half the game. However, to keep abreast of the trends, one first needs to identify the trends. Here is taking a look at the trends that are going to shape the future of healthcare consultants.
I) Changing Economies = Changing Strategy
In avolatile world fuelled by constant research and innovation, yesterday’s strengths are today’s liability. This is particularly true in case of healthcare consulting firms. The changing economic dynamics of the markets in various parts of the world has led to a change in the market structure and this is a trend that has the potential of shaping the healthcare market in the years to come. Adapting to the local markets and economies will be the key to success in a world that is still reeling from the effects of recession and global economic downturn. While pushing for high quality operation at a low cost remains a priority, this is no longer enough to bring success in these changing markets. Healthcare budget has been cut short in several countries, while long term healthcare projects have also failed to return the desired results. Cost of healthcare in developed countries have gone up by leaps and bounds, while smaller markets, particularly in Asia, have come up to fill the void. Consultancy firms in healthcare sector need to gain a foothold in these developing markets as these are ones that are going to be the major players in the near future. As the global healthcare industry strives to operate within tight budgets, identifying the right markets and targets will be a major challenge for the consulting agencies.
II) Technology Holds the Key
The dependence of the healthcare industry on technology is nothing new. Every new change in technology is going to change the way healthcare industry functions. Adopting the latest technological changes has been identified as a priority by the major healthcare service providers. And this is a trend that is going to affect the future of healthcare consultancies greatly. With the increase in connectivity and transparency, healthcare service providers will look for increased knowhow about the ways to best utilize the technology at their disposal. The healthcare industry’s ability to adapt to a quickly changing environment is often hampered by cumbersome onpremise implementation of CRM and RCM. Healthcare consultancy services are expected to come up with a solution to this. Thus, incorporating the latest innovations as part of their strategy is going to become a major selling point for the organizations operating in the healthcare consultancy sector.
III) Alternative Sources of Revenue
The biggest source of revenue for healthcare consultancy firms will continue to be the hospitals and other healthcare service providers. However, the healthcare industry is going through testing times which can potentially shrink the revenue stream. Exploring other revenue options can become the difference between staying in business and being overrun by the competition. With the market for health monitoring gadgets and fitness trackers growing significantly, this is one industry that healthcare consultantsare keeping an eye on. Not only is the market in a nascent stage and has enormous growth potential, it already has a huge consumer base and dedicated platforms. Given the growing popularity of fitness devices, it is only a matter of time before they become a part of mainstream healthcare industry and as such, major healthcare consultancies are tryingto gain the early adapter advantage. With giant corporations foraying into digital and online healthcare, marking this as a priority is a no brainer.
IV) Focusing on Specialization:
Opening up of untapped markets, new innovations, and mergers – all these are making healthcare projects bigger and more complicated. Currently, the trend in the industry is to break up big projects into small chunks and distribute those among several consultancy agencies, which specialize on particular sectors. As a consequence, an increasing number of healthcare consultancies are going for specialized expertise and this is a trend that will continue affecting the industry for the next few years. If everyone wants treatment from specialists, being a jack of all trades is no longer going to pay.
V) Finding the Sweet Spot for Offshoring
The volatile nature of world economy means offshoring is no longer the miracle solution that it once was. For healthcare consultancies, this is doubly true. As a consequence, it has become a priority for the companies in this sector to strike a balance between offshoring and in-house working. The trend is to advice the institutions in the healthcare sector regarding the pros and cons of offshoring, while the consultancy firms themselves try to find the right balance.
These are, thus, interesting times for those in healthcare consultancy. The changing face of the healthcare industry around the globe has opened up a whole new gamut of opportunities. As healthcare service providers will strive to find new ways of adapting to this changing industry, the consultancy services will be in demand more than ever before. However, it also comes with its share of challenges as the consultants will need to change their own strategies to best serve their clients. A brave new world awaits, up for grab. It is up to the organizations to embrace the trends and thrive; or go against the tide and perish.