The Health Industry at a Glance

Health is wealth, so they say. It is not a wonder that the health industry is one of the most lucrative industries in the world today. This 2009, we have seen how various turn of events in this country gave deep impact on how the health industry works. Below you will find some of the major happenings in this industry over this recent year as we take a glance at the health industry today.According to the PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Health Research Institute 2009, external forces such as pressures from consumers, financial realities, regulations, technology, election of new president and Congress, and desire of technological companies to extend into the health industry have had various effects on the health industry.At the heart of the economic crisis, the health industry sought ways to deliver quality services and products despite of the negative conditions of the market. Even though the economy was down, we still saw investments from some firms since the health industry is less vulnerable to economic downturns than other types of industries.However, effects of financial and credit crisis were still very much visible particularly from 2008 and early 2009. Media reports state that in the late 2009, an estimated one-third of consumers have delayed or skipped test or treatment due to financial difficulties. Hospital services such as elective surgeries and outpatient procedures as well as pharmaceutical products have decreased significantly.Other negative effects of the economic downturn include increase in hospital debts, decrease in investment portfolios for insurance companies, and decrease in charitable donations for health projects.This 2009, pharmaceutical companies also faced various challenges. One of which is that very few new drugs have entered the market. Aside from that, some drugs are going off patent and going for generic. Moreover, the government has started to regulate health marketing and sales channels. The biggest effect of this is decrease in revenue.Preventive drugs and medications also made it big this year. Vaccines, for instant, enjoyed benefits of non-governmental organizations’ promotion of immunizations. More people were immunized this year than in the recent years. Outbreak of viral infections also contributed to this occurrence.In addition to this, more state and local governments have begun regulating health-related behaviors, activities, and diet. Smoking in public areas is banned in most states while in New York and California, serving foods with trans-fats has been prohibited. More states have started to follow their lead. Because of the efforts of the government to promote healthy lifestyle, both employer and insurers are able to reduce medical costs.Lastly, just like in the recent years, technology has also been a powerful player in the health industry this 2009, as medical treatments and tests rely heavily on the use of modern technological tools and equipment. Apart from this, patients have easier access to health information via the Internet. Patient-to-patient interactions in social networking programs have also become a hot trend. More healthcare services utilize the Internet technology, web communications, and digital telephony to provide better health care services.