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Healthcare 'Gold Rush' Spurs Jobs, Fortune 50

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, June 9, 2011

Weakland says new players should also avoid the "me-too strategy. You see something that is working and you just try to mimic it without adding value or differentiating," he says.

Most importantly, he says, is understanding that the healthcare sector is incredibly large and complex and highly regulated. "You have to think about health reform and HIPAA and EMRs with meaningful use and how you adhere to that," he says. "There is so much regulation involved in healthcare that people who traditionally don't develop products and services in that market have a lot of learning to do."

The study found that:
  • Nearly one in three American adults have worked, now work or would like to work in healthcare. Jobs in healthcare increased 65% between 1990 and 2009, while the rest of the workforce increased only 16% over the same time period.
  • Of the Fortune 50 companies that have a stake in the healthcare industry, 24% would be considered traditional healthcare companies, but 52% are entering the healthcare market in non-traditional ways.
  • A new generation of tech-savvy consumers is creating a new market for digital and interactive health. Consumers between the ages of 18 to 24 are two times more interested in mobile health applications or programs and three times more interested in health-related video games than those over the age of 65.
  • Consumer demand for convenience and transparency in services and pricing is opening up channels for alternative sources of healthcare services. For example, the use of retail health clinics almost doubled in the past three years, from 10% of consumers who sought treatment at a retail health clinic in 2007 to 17% in 2010.
  • Consumers' willingness to pay out-of-pocket for non-traditional healthcare products and services represents as much as $13.6 billion of new revenue annually, including $4 billion on health-related video games, $8.9 billion on resources that rate physicians and hospitals and $700 million on mobile health applications.
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