The digital revolution, which we are witnesses and participants, speeds, exerting an increasing influence on all sectors, including healthcare.
The healthcare system in Poland requires reorganization in many areas, including, among others: the rationalization of current spending, scope of services, the type and size of the infrastructure used, the implementation of control mechanisms.
Described trends will dominate in the medical industry in 2017 and in the coming years.
Underfunding has been and will remain problem number one of the healthcare sector, but the problems will not be solved simply by increasing the level of funding, contrary to what might be thought. What is required is more effective management of the funds earmarked for healthcare, the identification of areas requiring investment/development in the mid- and long term, and a consensus reached with respect to the need to balance the constantly growing expectations of patients (and the growing supply of increasingly advanced medical technology) with the payer/payers’ capacity.
In Poland there are ~800 hospitals and ~220,000 hospital beds, which gives nearly 6 hospital beds per 1000 people. This is one of the highest results in Europe. In Poland there are 198 sanatoriums, 52 spa hospitals and 1800 long-term care facilities, offering 172,000 beds in those facilities. These facilities are much cheaper, while often providing very high quality health services and waiting to have their full potential used.
The operating costs of healthcare providers include, without limitation (based on sample entities from various segments): personnel costs (~52% of costs), costs of outsourced services, including patient meals (~24% of costs), costs of materials (~18% of costs), costs of infrastructure depreciation (~4% of costs), overhead and administrative costs (~2% of costs) and other costs, not quantified at present, e.g. costs of debt servicing. Virtually all these costs seem to be on the increase, based on an in-depth analysis.
The growing role of data processing is an area of healthcare that the world is headed towards, and Poland will not escape it either. The purpose is to implement mechanisms to enable the most detailed planning possible at the entity level, measuring performance (both clinical and economic) and rewarding the best entities, for example with additional funding.
The economies of scale achieved in areas such as joint purchasing, IT centralisation, centralized administration and support functions help generate cost savings in the order of 10-15% p.a. (for groups made up of 10-20 entities, for larger groups these savings are even higher). With the hospital care budget of ~PLN 40 billion, and the costs of activities in the above described areas amounting to ~PLN 16 billion, the annual savings would be ~PLN 2.0 billion.
There are very advanced technologies already available whose implementation is a solution to the problems of countries like Poland. These include: telemedicine services / telekonsultacyjne, the development of consumer health protection services, data analytics, biotechnology.
Medical tourism is developing in CEE at the rate of 12-15% p.a. Nearly 400 thousand foreign patients a year are already coming to Poland (both from western and eastern countries). These are, however, mainly patients of dental
clinics, spas, medical spas or long-term care facilities. The potential is much higher, especially when it comes to specialty medicine, namely plastic surgeries, obesity treatment, cardiology, orthopaedics, oncology and ophthalmology.
The number of people aged 65+ in Poland will increase by approximately 3 million in the coming 20 years, to 8.5 million people. The growing demand for long-term care services is a trend in every ageing society around the world, but we can expect particularly dynamic growth in Poland (~6% p.a.).
Observations show that the profitability and quality of the services provided is higher in those areas where private capital is involved in developing a given segment. Naturally, the role of the state is and will remain significant in securing hospital care, which is of such high importance, but the participation of the private sector (in various forms) seems unavoidable in order to achieve the expected results in a short time horizon.
Senior Manager, PwC Poland
Tel: +48 519 507 781
Manager, PwC Poland
Tel: +48 519 504 582
PR Manager, PwC Poland
Tel: tel: +48 519 504 245