Savings are priority for US healthcare in 2010

22 December 2009
22 December 2009 | Rebecca Ellinor

Healthcare workers in the US will “leave no stone unturned” to remove costs from their operations and supply chains next year.

That is the conclusion of an annual study of industry issues produced by PricewaterhouseCoopers’ (PwC) Health Research Institute.

Outlining what it forecasts to be the top 10 issues for public and private healthcare professionals next year, PwC tipped an “intense effort to reduce healthcare costs” for the number-one spot.

“Hospitals, physicians and other providers will look to squeeze out every penny, renegotiating purchasing agreements and contracts with suppliers on everything from food services to medical devices and pharmaceuticals,” it said.

Dr David Chin, partner and leader of the PwC research group, said healthcare typically lags trends in the business cycle by a year or more, which is why his group expects costs to be cut in the sector next year. “Recession could hit healthcare in 2010,” he said. 

“The primary emphasis for all healthcare organisations in the year ahead will be on reducing costs and creating greater value in the health system, a focus that will have a domino effect from one sector to another and redefine roles, responsibilities and relationships,” he added.

Other priorities affecting insurers, hospitals, doctors and health companies include: a focus on fraud by tightening internal controls and boosting compliance; public sector health reform; an anticipated increase in retail health clinics providing services outside hospitals; and a trend for “community health to be the new social responsibility” with employers and community leaders playing a part in improving the health of citizens.
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