A Year of Uncertainty and Opportunity for the Healthcare Industry in 2017

BY Stacey Empson – PwC Partner – Healthcare Leader | Healthcare Strategy Consultant | Healthcare Technology & Transformation Consulting

 Adapt for value: Organizations are being forced to adapt, prompting a wave of fine-tuning across the industry.

  • Under a new administration, the fate of the ACA remains unclear: Although details of President-elect Trump’s plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act remain scarce and potential policy changes remain uncertain, some health organizations already are beginning to prepare.
  • Pharma’s new strategic partners? Patients: Pharmaceutical companies facing increasingly challenging reimbursement and regulatory environments will work to engage with patients early and often to justify prices, show value and satisfy calls by regulators. To overcome these challenges, companies are developing inventive ways to engage with patients, including mobile apps and other services.
  • Easing the training wheels off value-based payment: As MACRA kicks off next year and CMS begins to offer other payment models, the training wheels for value-based payment models will ease off.
  • Insert your card here for healthcare: Health systems are confronting the need for modern, secure payment systems to increase efficiency and security and create more consumer-centric experiences.


Innovate for value: Health organizations are addressing the shift towards value through innovation.

  • Paging Dr. Drone: It’s time to prepare for emerging technologies: The industry will need to prepare for the impact of emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence, drones, virtual reality and 3D printing, by developing strategic plans, integrating new talent and making investments in cybersecurity.
  • The battle against infectious diseases sparks invention: In the expanding battle against infectious disease and antimicrobial resistance, public health agencies and private industry are collaborating and innovating new weapons to fight back.
  • Rx cauliflower: Nutrition moves to population health: Health systems and other organizations are focusing on nutrition as a way to address community needs and control health spending.

Build for value: Health organizations are building new solutions to issues raised by the shift to a value-based health ecosystem.

  • Putting the breaks – gently – on drug prices: Under public and political pressure, some pharmaceutical companies are setting their own price restrictions.
  • A year of new partnerships and collaborations: Healthcare M&A likely will continue apace, but the industry also will experience continued activity in alternative transactions, such as joint ventures, strategic alliances and clinical affiliations, as organizations aim to build new capabilities quickly to stay competitive.
  • Preparing medical students for work in a value-based world: Medical schools and residency programs are building innovative training programs to prepare students for work in a value-based healthcare landscape.

As the industry continues its shift to value amidst a time of political uncertainty, traditional health organizations and new entrants must embrace the changing landscape, innovate new solutions and build effective strategies to balance new policies with additional forces shaping the industry. For more insights and analysis on the top issues facing the health industry in 2017, please see Top health industry issues of 2017: A year of uncertainty and opportunity https://www.pwc.com/us/en/health-industries/top-health-industry-issues.html


Stacey Empson served as an Executive Vice President of the Northeast Region of HealthLink, Inc. Ms. Empson has more than 17 years of experience in various roles as healthcare attorney, consultant, and business strategist to hospitals and health systems across the U.S. She serves as a Director of National Alliance of Health Information Technology and Healthlink Incorporated. She served as Director of Healthlink Incorporated.