Business of Medicine

By Josh Garcia
Monday, January 6, 2020

Expect Exponential Growth Among the Ambulatory Care Service Market Over Next 6 Years

Market intelligence and strategic consulting firm Reports and Data expects the global ambulatory care service market to reach $113.06 billion by the year 2026. Reports and Data valued the ambulatory care service market at $77.49 billion in 2018. The firm predicts a compound annual growth rate of 4.8% over the next six years.

Ambulatory care can cover a large range of services, including diagnosis, consultation, treatment and rehabilitation. Often, these services are more cost effective in outpatient settings when compared to the same services in an inpatient setting. As such, many services traditionally performed in hospitals have moved to outpatient facilities to cut down on costs. This movement is likely driving the exponential growth in the global ambulatory care market.

Healthcare Consumerism Still Playing Catch-Up

Many industries are increasingly adopting and adapting practices to cater to modern consumers. These industries focus on convenience and simplicity for consumers who expect services and information to be offered online, where they spend much of their time. In this regard, the healthcare industry still seems to be woefully behind.

According to the 2019 Healthcare Consumerism Index released by Kaufman Hall, only 8% of healthcare organizations are considered best-in-class performers when it comes to the four basic tenets of consumerism: access, experience, pricing and infrastructure.

Kaufman Hall divided healthcare organizations into four tiers within its index, with Tier 1 representing the pinnacle of consumerism-focused organizations and Tier 4 comprising organizations that lack meaningful improvement in consumer-centric strategies.

In addition to the aforementioned 8% of organizations that fell into Tier 1, 24% of organizations were grouped in Tier 2, 39% in Tier 3 and 29% in Tier 4. This means that almost 70% of healthcare organizations have not yet begun “building an infrastructure for broader, sustained consumer-centric focus and success,” according to the index.

5G Internet Capabilities May Change Healthcare Industry

In November 2018, the American Medical Association stated that it would “advocate for the expansion of broadband and wireless connectivity in underserved areas,” and it’s easy to see why. Faster internet speeds and greater bandwidth give patients and providers improved access to digital health tools, such as telemedicine videoconferencing and the gathering of health data.

Fast forward a year, and the seemingly inevitable advent of 5G internet technology stands poised to revolutionize modern health care. The significantly faster speeds and larger bandwidth sizes offered by 5G technology allow larger and more constant streams of data to be sent between providers and their patients.

Instead of a routine physical that provides a snapshot of a patient’s health, providers may soon rely on real-time health updates from fitness trackers to guide diagnoses and treatment methods. Caregivers may be able to track the vital signs of loved ones and respond to health changes before they become complications.

Time, availability and cost will be the key indicators of whether 5G can follow through on these and other promises.