AquinaMay 31, 2018

3 Ways That Healthcare Mega-Mergers May Impact You

3 Ways That Healthcare Mega-Mergers May Impact You

We’ve talked before in this space about the blockbuster healthcare mergers and announcements from 2017, chiefly CVS/Aetna, and the proposed alliance between Amazon, JP Morgan, and Berkshire Hathaway. But while these and smaller alliances may have dominated the news cycle, a better question is what do these deals mean for the industry? We look at three potential impacts to current practitioners.

Brick and mortar footprint.

As of this writing, CVS has approximately 9,600 stores in the U.S., which in the fragmented, regionalized world of healthcare is a dramatic footprint. While CVS has technically been in the healthcare business for years through their Minute Clinics, being aligned with an insurance giant like Aetna, and taking advantage of dramatic changes in healthcare service delivery could make traditional regional players look insignificant by comparison. Much like Amazon scaled their e-commerce business model in ways their brick-and-mortar competitors could not (e.g. Prime, Marketplace), CVS/Aetna could change the rules of engagement for the “retail” delivery of healthcare.

Amazon as a pharmacy?

Speaking of Amazon, speculation abounds that it’s a matter of when, not if, Amazon gets into the pharmacy business. What that might look like once it happens is anyone’s guess, but Amazon’s past history would suggest they could bundle prescription services with other offerings, such as Prime shipping and same-day grocery delivery. While online prescription services have existed for years, no one has the reach, scale, and expertise to ship goods of any kind quite like Amazon. While most practitioners are agnostic to where a patient chooses to fill a prescription, changes in patient experience around prescriptions could easily trickle down into the healthcare experience itself.

Changing patient expectations.

While we discussed online prescriptions above, the fact of the matter is the entire patient experience is in the midst of radical change. Millennials are driving much of this in healthcare as they are in other industries, putting brands on notice that they must make themselves personally relevant to their target audience to survive. Healthcare “disruption” will likely follow the path of other industries, such as Airbnb and VRBO disrupting hospitality, or Uber and Lyft disrupting transportation. What should healthcare providers do while these changes continue to unfold? Stay on top of new technology, invest in proper training for your staff, and listen to your patients to understand the parts of the experience that could be improved. Providers following that path will likely have a seat at the table for whatever may be coming next.