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Who Will Rule Healthcare in 2030?

What will healthcare be like 10 years from now? Not a lot of healthcare executives toiling in our system have the luxury to think about that as they deal with the day-to-day operations of their organizations.

Thankfully, Oliver Wyman Health, the healthcare branch of the global management consulting firm, and the National Business Group on Health, found 525 of them to answer a few questions about healthcare in the year 2030. The survey results offer a fascinating glimpse at what could happen in healthcare over the next decade and, I hope, make for a fascinating little blog post. 

The 525 respondents fell into four buckets: employers (186); innovators (135); incumbents (132) and other (72). Then, Oliver Wyman Health and the NBGH gave each group four scenarios. By 2030:

  1. The status quo will continue with the next decade mirroring the last as fee-for-service continues as the primary payment system interrupted by pockets of innovations that haven’t scaled
  2. Healthcare will be a no-profit zone with social outrage pushing legislative action that limits prices, revenue and profits and pockets of innovations not scaling enough to be disruptive
  3. Incumbent-led value will triumph with incumbents leading the way with disruptive innovations that create more healthcare value for consumers and drive profitability for the incumbents
  4. Innovator-led value will triumph with patients becoming loyal to consumer-facing platforms, virtual care and retail clinics becoming healthcare’s new front door and profitability shifting away from incumbents and to innovative new market entrants

The least likely scenario—and good news for supporters of market-based healthcare reform—was No. 2: the government taking over and making for-profit healthcare treasonous. Only 8 percent of incumbents and innovators predicted that will happen as did only 3 percent of the employers. 

The next least likely scenario was No. 1: the dreaded status quo. Only 10 percent of the incumbents and innovators said that would happen as did only 6 percent of the employers. 

So, which will it be: incumbent-lead value or innovator-led value taking home the trophy in 2030?

According to the survey, it will be the innovators by slaughter rule, a landslide, double digits, a blow out, a landslide, a shellacking. 

Seventy-one percent of the employers and 57 percent of the incumbents/innovators said innovator-led value will win. Only 20 percent and 25 percent of employers and incumbents/innovators, respectively, said incumbent-led value will characterize the industry 10 years from now.

The results speak volumes about the lack of confidence in the government and in incumbent healthcare segments to bring about real change for patients that makes care more accessible, more effective and more affordable. 

If you don’t like my take on the survey results or you want to read the full results yourself, click here

Ten years from now, assuming I’m still around, I’ll be a Medicare beneficiary. Whether I’m covered by a single-payer, government-run program called Medicare for All, by traditional Medicare, by a Medicare Advantage plan or by a new type of insurance product that hasn’t been invented yet, I’m not sure. 

But, I am sure that it’s going to get real interesting between now and then as everyone scrambles to see who comes out on top. Who would you bet on?

For more on this topic, please read “What Are Healthcare Executives Thinking? on

Thank you.

About the 4sight Health Author
David Burda News Editor & Columnist

Dave is 4sight Health’s biggest news junkie, resident journalist and healthcare historian. He began covering healthcare in 1983 and hasn’t stopped since. Dave writes his own column, “Burda on Health,” for us, contributes weekly blog posts, and manages our weekly e-newsletter and weekly podcast, 4sight Friday and 4sight Roundup. Dave believes that healthcare is a business like any other business, and customers—patients—are king. If you do what’s right for patients, good business results will follow. Follow Burda on Twitter @DavidRBurda and on LinkedIn.