By World Healthcare Journal-
All health organisations will need to stay agile with innovative business models to meet the demands of both consumers and investors, says Vincent Buscemi, Partner and Head of Independent Health and Social Care at Bevan Brittan LLP
The value of the global healthcare market continues to grow, and is estimated to be worth around $10 trillion USD. Traditional country-based models of care are changing rapidly as consumer expectations increase – and different ways of delivering medical services are filling the gaps in health provision.
National healthcare providers that struggle to manage clinical, operational, and financial challenges see a future in which new business models and care systems – supported by digital technologies – can solve problems of inertia and resourcing to deliver affordable, accessible, high-quality healthcare. There are some common drivers and goals:
• Across the public and private sectors, the UK is now highly active in the international healthcare market, exchanging and sharing ideas, and attracting new investment at home and abroad.
• Healthcare is moving from ‘volume’ to ‘value’ via outcome-based delivery models. These systems are focused on rigorous financial and operational performance management, often supported by technologies that increase access to care.
• The focus is shifting away from caring for patients after they fall ill to systems that support well-being, prevention and early intervention.
• Closer links are developing between the public and private sectors in which medical expertise, capability and facilities help generate vital extra funding for hard-pressed national health budgets through economies of scale.
For the UK, there is a significant opportunity to export its expertise, brand and reputation in health to overseas markets. Many of the illnesses that are perceived as Western problems (obesity, poor diet, lack of exercise, diabetes, smoking, vitamin D deficiency, alcohol and substance abuse, mental health) are becoming common in emerging economies, particularly in the Middle East, India, China and elsewhere.
The UK, which has the expertise and capability in treating these illnesses (e.g. orthopaedics, spinal, oncology, cardiothoracic surgery, etc.), is increasingly selling its capability back to these new markets. UK centres of excellence with world-renowned reputations are exporting their models of care and establishing themselves in markets around the world.
Meanwhile, back home in the UK, an ageing population and a relatively underdeveloped private health sector means there are opportunities for further investment in the UK. Private equity, pension and infrastructure funds and other institutions are looking to expand their portfolios, particularly in the care home and specialist care markets, which is leading to inward investment from foreign operators into the UK.
At the same time, new entrants from outside the traditional business of healthcare (e.g. multinational technology-based companies) are redefining the global healthcare market in both developed and developing nations, bringing more affordable and convenient care options, wellness and fitness to address long standing challenges.
Whatever background investors or providers come from, their ability to advance in the international health market is governed by a complicated architecture of laws, rules, regulations and local custom and practice that differ substantially from country to country. In the largest economies, laws and regulations are invariably complex and can involve a regulatory maze of statutory oversight, licensing, professional standards and structures intended to provide a clear and consistent framework for the delivery of safe quality care.
For legal advisers such as Bevan Brittan, to have expert knowledge and capability in regulatory and commercial law, the ability to advise and act on international contracts, and to have local legal and political networks in destination markets is fundamental for clients.
At Bevan Brittan, we provide advice on market penetration strategies, the scale of potential customer demand and competition in local jurisdictions, as well as the full range of legal support services which are critical to help balance opportunity and risk, including intellectual property (protecting the knowledge, systems/processes and value of health organisations in international partnerships) and data, to keep patient and corporate information confidential and safe.
For clients wanting to establish facilities in the UK, we have advised on a variety of organisational and operational models that meet local compliance standards and contract law. Shortages of appropriately skilled healthcare staff mean that workforce teams need to be fully aware of immigration and employment law issues, as well as having robust recruitment and retention policies.
All health organisations will need to stay agile with innovative business models to meet the demands of both consumers and investors, and we at Bevan Brittan are at the forefront of these changes, building and facilitating partnerships in the UK and overseas.
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