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Global Top Health Industry Issues 2021

Innovation fuelled by digital capabilities

Key takeaways

The time to act is now to build off the lessons healthcare organizations learned in 2020. Watch an overview of the key issues in Global Top Health Industry Issues 2021.

The healthcare industry responded with astonishing speed to the shock of the COVID-19 pandemic. Practically overnight, it shifted much of its work onto virtual platforms and digital technologies; and in doing so, packed a decade’s worth of reforms into a few short months.

In our new report, PwC looks at four top issues that now affect global healthcare providers, insurers, pharmaceutical and life sciences companies, new entrants and employers. Our research is backed by new results from a PwC survey of 10,000 consumers across 10 territories, conducted in January 2021, along with interviews with healthcare leaders.

Explore four top issues in global health

PwC’s report focuses on four top issues that were given a shot of momentum by the response to the pandemic, and that will continue to grow in strength.

Advances in technology and consumers’ desire for convenience are expected to drive adoption of virtual care to a level that disrupts the traditional care delivery system. The PwC global health consumer survey shows extremely high interest in remote care—whether via smartphones or video appointments—even once people are able to return to in-person care. As a result, provider and payer organisations must develop forward-looking, comprehensive virtual care strategies that make sense from both a patient care and business perspective.

Implications:

  • Protect against inequities in access to virtual care among vulnerable populations who do not have the mobile devices, connectivity, and digital literacy needed to participate. 

  • Address health data privacy and security by boosting cybersecurity efforts as more people use telemedicine, healthcare apps and remote monitoring devices. 

  • Manage for change by providing upskilling opportunities, building organisational digital fitness and helping employees adjust to changing work practices.

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COVID-19 was the first truly global pandemic in the age of artificial intelligence and big data. But when the pandemic arrived, healthcare organisations often struggled to find the basic information they needed to respond, and the disorganised rollout of COVID vaccination programmes in many countries illustrates how much more must be done to harness the power of data and analytics. A recognition of the power of data analytics to improve care, enhance the patient experience and lower costs is driving a convergence between the tech, health services, and pharmaceutical and life sciences industries.

Implications:

  • Leverage data to target interventions, communications and outreach strategies to the right patients, thus driving patient engagement, improving outcomes and lowering costs. 

  • Convene regional collaborations of health systems, medical researchers, community organisations, pharmacies, government, local employers and tech to help generate insights from health, consumer and social determinants data to identify trends, target interventions and drive smart outreach strategies.

  • Develop a data-driven culture in which information is transformed into insights.

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The pandemic’s disruption of existing in-person clinical trials forced the adoption of digital technology and remote-care tools that enable researchers to handle some aspects of trials virtually, including digital recruitment, remote visits by telehealth, and the use of home-based testing or monitoring technologies. 

In the PwC Health Research Institute survey, 93% of pharmaceutical and life sciences executives said trials that include digital elements were important to their company’s pipeline in the next five years, and 66% of respondents in the PwC global health consumer survey said they would be very or somewhat willing to engage in digital clinical trials. 

Positive experiences during COVID-related trials undoubtedly increased enthusiasm for incorporating digital components into trials when feasible.

Implications:

  • Determine the right studies for new models, identify and prioritise appropriate disease areas and, in the case of decentralised trials, examine the feasibility of running studies in unconventional locations that can adequately facilitate patient visits, drug storage and biospecimen collection.
  • Weigh the costs and savings of trials. Trials that feature remote tools for some patient interactions and monitoring create savings in a number of areas, including those associated with onsite monitoring and management.

  • Address consumer concerns. In the PwC global health consumer survey, 23% of respondents said they are unwilling or somewhat unwilling to take part in remote trials. Among reasons were trust concerns (30%), the time commitment (21%) and health concerns (20%).

  • Increase participant diversity by decentralising the locations for studies.

Explore the issues in more detail

The pandemic shone a harsh spotlight on supply chain weaknesses. The focus in 2021 will be on building flexibility and redundancy into the supply chain—work that not only prepares industry players for the next public health crisis but builds a buffer against other disruptions. This work produces a host of other positive outcomes, including job creation and ESG benefits through appropriate localisation of manufacturing and the supply chain.

Implications:

  • Consider supply localisation. Factors such as risk and resilience, development of a broader ecosystem, cost-benefit analysis, tax incentives, and talent availability should be considered for the short and long term, and organisations should build in agility with redundant infrastructure.

  • Build partnerships that enable innovation, foster supply chain resilience and advance product distribution.

  • Invest in the workforce of the future that understands the technology and the power of data, including AI and machine learning that increasingly pervade the supply chain.

Explore the issue in more detail

Explore the data

Filter the data by territory or region and compare it to the global average.
 

Explore the data from the Global Health Survey

Filter the data by region

Jurisdictions Global Australia Canada China Germany India Japan Singapore South Africa UK US
Have you experienced any symptoms of anxiety or depression as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic?
Yes 36% 38% 43% 33% 26% 55% 8% 30% 50% 41% 40%
No 60% 58% 54% 65% 68% 42% 85% 67% 47% 55% 55%
Don't know 4% 4% 3% 2% 5% 2% 7% 4% 3% 4% 5%
Would you participate in a remotely-conducted clinical trial to help develop healthcare treatments or vaccines?
Willing 66% 63% 63% 84% 60% 87% 35% 66% 71% 71% 60%
Unwilling 23% 22% 25% 12% 27% 9% 47% 22% 21% 17% 25%
Not sure 11% 16% 12% 4% 13% 4% 18% 12% 8% 12% 15%
Of the virtual settings you have used to receive healthcare treatment, would you be willing to use these again once the pandemic risk has decreased and a COVID-19 vaccine has mass adoption?
Phone 83% 81% 82% 86% 79% 92% 71% 77% 90% 76% 80%
Text 78% 75% 71% 75% 78% 84% 80% 75% 88% 63% 70%
Email 80% 73% 83% 76% 77% 87% 78% 72% 88% 71% 82%
Mobile app 81% 71% 72% 87% 63% 86% 70% 75% 84% 75% 85%
For those hesitant to receive the vaccine, what would encourage you to get the COVID-19 vaccine sooner?
If my family and friends got the vaccine 23% 18% 23% 45% 19% 36% 18% 26% 15% 21% 18%
If there was more evidence/information available on it 57% 54% 52% 53% 51% 59% 63% 64% 74% 47% 50%
It was a requirement for something I wanted to do (e.g. travel, go to a concert etc) 32% 33% 36% 44% 30% 39% 18% 41% 27% 29% 30%
There was no cost associated 32% 28% 29% 47% 25% 29% 36% 40% 28% 21% 28%
Other 3% 3% 4% 0% 4% 2% 2% 2% 3% 3% 4%
I don't know 10% 13% 9% 3% 13% 7% 14% 5% 7% 14% 17%
Attitudes toward receiving the COVID-19 vaccine
Enthusiasts (straightaway) 45% 42% 49% 50% 43% 68% 18% 28% 40% 65% 47%
Hesitants (would get it but not as soon as it was available to them) 47% 53% 43% 46% 46% 29% 71% 66% 43% 32% 40%
Never 8% 6% 8% 4% 11% 3% 11% 6% 17% 4% 13%
Methods used to receive healthcare treatment (Before and/or during the pandemic)
Video virtual care visit (e.g., using technology to virtually see and talk to a medical professional) 14%,17% 14%,15% 11%,16% 20%,22% 7%,9% 33%,39% 3%,3% 13%,15% 7%,12% 7%,11% 22%,29%
Phone call to a medical professional 24%,29% 22%,35% 23%,40% 29%,29% 28%,24% 44%,43% 6%,7% 14%,16% 23%,25% 30%,39% 23%,27%
Texting with a medical professional 11%,12% 10%,11% 6%,7% 19%,20% 5%,5% 30%,32% 2%,2% 10%,11% 12%,14% 5%,7% 11%,11%
Emailing with a medical professional 12%,13% 11%,13% 9%,12% 16%,17% 9%,8% 26%,28% 2%,3% 11%,12% 14%,15% 8%,10% 15%,16%
Mobile app to communicate with a medical professional 14%,15% 11%,13% 7%,8% 36%,35% 5%,5% 36%,35% 3%,3% 15%,14% 11%,12% 7%,7% 13%,13%
None of the above 58%,52% 60%,46% 63%,43% 40%,40% 60%,62% 28%,23% 90%,89% 68%,63% 64%,61% 56%,47% 52%,45%
Of those who would never receive the COVID-19 vaccine, why not?
I do not believe in vaccinations 24% 19% 20% 14% 17% 23% 25% 38% 30% 19% 22%
Due to the potential cost of the vaccine 9% 2% 9% 28% 4% 7% 19% 7% 10% 0% 6%
I do not trust the vaccine will work 42% 46% 41% 19% 47% 33% 26% 50% 46% 35% 50%
I think it has been developed too fast 44% 42% 45% 11% 52% 20% 26% 50% 49% 59% 52%
Due to potential health concerns in taking the vaccine 47% 53% 49% 39% 56% 33% 48% 45% 46% 32% 45%
Due to a lack of access to receive the vaccine 5% 4% 5% 6% 3% 10% 7% 5% 5% 3% 2%
Other 9% 12% 12% 0% 13% 10% 2% 5% 10% 11% 11%
I don't know 3% 7% 2% 3% 4% 0% 7% 0% 1% 5% 1%
Willingness of those who have already used video virtual care to use it again once the pandemic risk has decreased
Respondents answering "yes" 91% 89% 84% 96% 90% 97% 86% 94% 83% 91% 86%

Contact us

Aslı  Şen Söylemez

Aslı Şen Söylemez

Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals and Life Science Industry Leader, PwC Turkey

Tel: +90 212 376 5304

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