Technology, demographics and new customer expectations are transforming healthcare. But few are ready.

For its 17th Annual Global CEO Survey, PwC conducted 1,344 interviews with CEOs in 68 countries on issues facing business leaders across all industries early in 2014. Most healthcare CEOs concede they have a lot of work to do to catch-up with the coming changes.

Most healthcare CEOs plan to make changes to address the many ways in which customers’ expectations are evolving: 94% plan to alter their customer growth and retention strategies, while 84% plan to alter their channels to market. Few have embarked on these changes, though, let alone completed them.

86% of healthcare CEOs believe technological advances will transform their businesses in the next five years. And they’re far more conscious than other CEOs of the huge role demographics will play – 84% see it as a transformative trend, compared to just 60% across the sample.

New frontiers in healthcare
Technology is already having a far-reaching impact on healthcare delivery and CEOs are already planning ways to take advantage of this trend: 89% plan to improve their ability to innovate; 93% plan to change their technology investments; and 95% are exploring better ways of using and managing big data.

But there’s a big gap between where healthcare CEOs are now, and where they want to be. Only 25% have already started or completed the changes they’re planning to make their companies more innovative. Only 33% have altered their technology investments, and only 36% have made any headway in getting to grips with big data.

Healthcare companies need to get better prepared
Why the delay? Only 31% say their R&D functions are well prepared, and only 41% say their IT functions are well prepared, to capitalise on the trends now reshaping the world.

Concerns that a newer technology could render their efforts obsolete are a likely factor: 57% of healthcare CEOs are worried about the speed at which technology is progressing. That’s far more than across the sample as a whole.

Healthcare CEOs are focusing on collaboration
To address the changing landscape, healthcare CEOs are also actively looking at transactions. More than half have entered into a joint venture or strategic alliance in the past 12 months (vs. one third of the total sample) and a full 69% plan to do so in the coming 12 months (versus 44% of the total sample).

Still, they acknowledge they could get better: more than four-fifths of all healthcare CEOs concede that they either need to change, or are already changing, their strategies for initiating such arrangements.





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