Can health care become pain-free?

  • Share

The health industry is undergoing a tremendous transformation. Spiraling costs driven by aging populations and the rise of chronic disease mean that health systems and organizations are searching to find ways to operate more efficiently. Simultaneously, health organizations are responding to a rising demand for digital health care and improved access to care that’s closer to where patients live and work. For instance, 95% of non-federal acute hospitals allowed patients to view their digital health information in 2015, increasing from just 40% in 2013.1 New entrants from the technology, consumer products, life sciences, and insurance sectors further influence the industry’s transformation.2

In the United States, these changes are all taking place in an ambiguous regulatory environment. While the current Administration is working to unravel the Affordable Care Act, the legislation’s fate is unclear and resulting regulatory questions abound. In addition, today’s regulators and health consumers expect organizations to demonstrate an effective, proactive approach to risk and compliance capable of preventing or promptly mitigating costly exposures, such as data privacy breaches.

Mere compliance, however, is no longer a sustainable business model, nor an indicator of success. Leading health organizations have learned to foresee and prepare for regulatory changes on the horizon. Integrated compliance capabilities help build confidence among shareholders, members and regulators, which empowers management to create the opportunity for growth as health care organizations move into uncharted territory. Moving beyond “react and respond” to a proactive stance, robust compliance planning does more than protect the organization’s assets and reputation: it allows it to grow.3

As these trends illustrate, the US health sector landscape is undergoing an unprecedented transformation, moving from volume- to value-based care models, with increasing consolidation, consumerism and technological integration, and a continued drive for performance optimization and regulatory excellence.

To succeed in this shifting landscape, health organizations’ must build sustainable business strategies that place an increased focus on the following key areas: smart growth (including creative partnerships), technology and consumerism, performance optimization,  regulatory excellence and mitigating risk. The future of health care requires organizations that are consumer-centric, outcomes-driven, prevention-focused and cross-sector. It’s up to all players involved to embrace these changes and adapt. To explore these enduring trends and the strategies required to succeed in the new health landscape, I’ve enlisted the help of leaders from across EY’s US Health practice.

1“Hospitals that Enable Patient Digital Data Access 2012 – 2015,” Internet Trends 2017 Code Conference Presentation: Mary Meeker for Kleiner Perkins, 31 May 2017, via ONC/AHA Annual Survey Information Technology Supplement 2012-2015, ©Kleiner Perkins.

2 “EY launches new approach to develop interdisciplinary, global solutions for the future of health care,” EY website,, 30 July 2015.

3 Driving healthy growth: 5 Insights for executives, EY, 2013.