Trilliant Health just released its 2022 Trends Shaping the Health Economy Annual Report, providing a unique perspective on the healthcare market through the lens of supply and demand.
Even though these dynamics don’t play out in healthcare exactly how they would in an “ideal market,” the 147-page report does a good job turning the core principles into a framework for examining 13 different secular trends.
Perhaps the biggest trend, at least on the demand side, is what looks to be a shrinking total addressable market. The share of Americans with commercial health coverage dropped 0.6 percentage points from 2020 to 2021.
- On top of this, care forgone during the pandemic appears to be permanently lost rather than delayed. Pandemic-related care is driving the appearance of a rebound, but with COVID treatment and vaccination omitted, healthcare encounters are down 6.2%.
- The widespread availability of virtual care options hasn’t saved the day either, with Trilliant’s data showing that half of telehealth users in 2021 only used the modality once.
At the same time as demand is contracting, a growing supply of new entrants like CVS, Walmart, and Amazon is making consumer loyalty harder to capture.
- Trilliant makes the case that these retailers are commoditizing low-acuity services, leveraging their scale and large customer bases to pressure established players.
- This is taking place against a backdrop of burnout among traditional providers, with 9.8% of physicians leaving the field between 2019 and 2022. When accounting for new physicians entering the industry, the U.S. saw a -2% reduction in the physician workforce during the same period.
If the full report makes one thing clear, it’s that the health economy is quickly turning into a negative-sum game as the number of patients with commercial health coverage decreases and new entrants swarm the field. Even though Trilliant doesn’t set out to give a solution to this problem, its research is a solid tool to help each stakeholder make sure they’re at least asking the right questions.