By Mark Clermont, CEO, Cecelia Health
What 2024 healthcare trends should be on your radar?
From our unique perspective working across healthcare and life sciences, 2023 set the hook for dramatic shifts in everything from business models to the role of data + AI to standards of care. Through the early days of 2024, we see this evolution accelerating as organizations and patients seek reduced friction in a rapidly changing landscape.
Here are some of the important narratives we’ll be tracking:
GLP-1s continue to change the standard of care landscape: With the likelihood of expanding indications and the intersection of adiposity-based conditions, we see the prospect of downstream impacts on segments of the market. For example, will GLP-1s force consolidation or shift ownership in threat-sensitive corners such as durable medical equipment (DME) suppliers? Certainly, Wall Street’s recent hammering of the DME segment would suggest that investors recognize the GLP-1 threat.
Seismic shift for pharma: Inflation Reduction Act (IRA)-mandated price negotiations (don’t say controls!) will further impact pharma and downstream pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), triggering re-structurings to account for lost revenue and significantly reduced R&D pipelines.
Consumerization of healthcare: Largely driven by the IRA and the rise of GLP1s, the foundations of care delivery are evolving more rapidly than previously experienced. Patients may soon be able to effectively self-prescribe certain drugs and pharma will be further incentivized to bypass PBMs and sell directly to consumers.
Data drives everything: Data is its own periodic table, with elements powering… everything. From the rise of TEFCA to the massive vertical data sets required to train effective AI models—data big and small will continue to power healthcare.
AI will dominate the conversation: Long an amorphous category, AI has been driving advancements for years through NLP and ML workhorses. Generative AI is a top 2024 healthcare trend as it has magnified the spotlight, driving focus on next-gen applications that will change how care is managed and delivered.
Crossroads for retail healthcare: Vertical integration of assets is the path to success for retail health. We are impressed and enthused by the aggressive transformation at Karen Lynch’s CVS. Is this the year that Walgreens finally gets out of its own way under new CEO Tim Wentworth’s leadership? Certainly, non-brick-and-mortar retailers like Amazon will continue to exploit pharmacy, PBM, and direct-to-consumer trends (and perhaps find a scalable strategy with OneMedical).
PBM identity crisis: Rebates are the revenue stalwart of PBMs and are evaporating via downstream IRA impact and other regulatory effects. The market is demanding pricing transparency and new patient-friendly entrants are challenging the PBM establishment and making headway. Will the downstream effect on specialty drug pricing become a topic of discussion in 2024? We’ll see.
Telemedicine is maturing: With the end of the public health emergency, there are growing medical deserts, and patients are losing access. We are excited at the emergence of omnipresent care where telemedicine is no longer relegated to addressing midnight sniffles and is instead functioning as part of an integrated care plan.
Integrated care hitting stride: The market is moving away from point source care solutions and embracing whole-person care that is connected into clinical practice. Comprehensive and well-coordinated healthcare will maximize potential to achieve positive clinical outcomes.
Did we miss any of the major 2024 healthcare trends from your perspective? Let us know what you see.