Sep 12, 2014

TOP 10: Countries Investing the Most on Health Care

Top 10
Global Healthcare
5 min
Health care spending across the world has steadily increased after the economic crises that took place.
Health care spending has begun to rise glo...

Health care spending has begun to rise globally as more focus is being placed on better health care. We compiled the top 10 countries investing the most on health care by comparing their health expenditure per capita.

10. Belgium

Health expenditure per capita: $4,419
Expenditure as a pct. of GDP: 10.9% (9th highest)
Pct. obese: 13.8% (10th lowest)
Life expectancy: 80.5 years (12th lowest)

Belgium spent $3,560 on health per capita in 2012, versus the OECD average of $2,867. On pharmaceuticals, Belgium spent $593 per capita in 2012, trailing just behind Canada and the United States among OECD countries. But despite the higher health expenditure, health outcomes weren’t the greatest. Life expectancy was 80.5 years, just slightly above the OECD average of 80.2 years.

9. Luxembourg

Health expenditure per capita: $4,578
Expenditure as a pct. of GDP: 7.1% (5th lowest)
Life expectancy: 81.5 years (10th lowest)

Luxembourg only spent 7.1 percent of its GDP on healthcare, less than almost all other OECD countries. Its residents were quite wealthy, earning an average of $52,000 annually as of 2011, second only to United States residents.

8. Canada

Health expenditure per capita: $4,602
Expenditure as a pct. of GDP: 10.9% (8th highest)
Pct. obese: 17.7% (8th highest)
Life expectancy: 81.5 years (10th highest)

Health spending accounted for 10.9 percent of GDP in Canada, only one and a half percentage point higher than the OECD average of 9.3 percent. Canada experienced a substantial expansion of its medical workforce since 2000, driven by the increase of graduates from Canadian universities. While a growing number of doctors will improve access to healthcare, it may put pressure on future healthcare budgets as more graduates enter the workforce

7. Denmark

Health expenditure per capita: $4,698
Expenditure as a pct. of GDP: 11.0% (7th highest)
Pct. obese: 13.4% (9th lowest)
Life expectancy: 80.1 years (10th lowest)

In Denmark, 86 percent of all health spending was funded by public sources in 2012, the highest share among all OECD countries. The life expectancy in Denmark, however, still remains significantly lower than most Western European countries and other Nordic countries at 80.1 years. Obesity rates among adults have also increased which foreshadows increases in the occurrence of health problems and higher health care costs in the future.

6. Germany

Health expenditure per capita: $4,811
Expenditure as a pct. of GDP: 11.3% (5th highest)
Pct. obese: 14.7% (12th lowest)
Life expectancy: 81.0 years (16th highest)

In 2011, Germany introduced a new law that raised compulsory rebates for manufacturers and froze prices until 2013. This has led to a decrease in pharmaceutical spending in the country. Their current expenditure lies at 0.7 percent of GDP, significantly lower than the OECD average of 1.4 percent. Along with other countries, Germany’s smoking rates among adults have decreased to 22 percent, closer to the OECD average of 20.7 percent.

5. Austria

Health expenditure per capita: $4,896
Expenditure as a pct. of GDP: 11.1% (6th highest)
Pct. obese: 12.4% (8th lowest)
Life expectancy: 81.0 years (16th highest)

The growth rate in health spending in Austria slowed down after following their economic crisis but it has since begun to increase. In 2012, their health spending average grew by three percent in real terms. Alcohol consumption is still higher than that in nearly all other OECD countries with a consumption rate of 12.2 liters per adult, compared to the average of 9.0 liters. Obesity rates have also gone up from 9.1 percent in 1999 to 12.4 percent in 2006 (latest year of information available).

4. Netherlands

Health expenditure per capita: $5,099
Expenditure as a pct. of GDP: 11.8% (2nd highest)
Pct. obese: 12.0% (6th lowest)
Life expectancy: 81.2 years (15th highest)

Health spending in the Netherlands has continued to grow despite the economic crisis, averaging an annual real term growth rate of over three percent between 2006 and 2012, according to reports from the OECD. In 2012, life expectancy at birth stood at 81.2 years, one year higher than the OECD average of 80.2.

3. Switzerland

Health expenditure per capita: $6,080
Expenditure as a pct. of GDP: 11.4% (4th highest)
Pct. obese: 10.3% (3rd lowest)
Life expectancy: 82.8 years (3rd highest)

Switzerland introduced a series of measures to contain pharmaceutical spending growth in 2010 and 2011, which put downward pressure on prices. In 2012, however, it rose by over three percent. Switzerland also had the third highest life expectancy among OECD countries at 82.8 years. Only Japan and Iceland enjoyed a higher life expectancy at 83.2 and 83.0 years, respectively.

2. Norway

Health expenditure per capita: $6,140
Expenditure as a pct. of GDP: 9.3% (16th highest)
Pct. obese: 10.0% (2nd lowest)
Life expectancy: 81.5 years (10th highest)

Total health spending accounted for 9.3 percent of GDP in Norway in 2012, equal to the average across all OECD countries. While health spending growth slowed down following the economic crisis, it picked up again in 2011 and Norway recorded annual increases of three to five percent since. Life expectancy stood at 81.5 years, more than a year higher than the OECD average and the obesity rate remains among the lowest. 

1. United States

Health expenditure per capita: $8,745

Expenditure as a pct. of GDP: 16.9% (highest of all)
Pct. obese: 35.3% (highest of all)
Life expectancy: 78.7 years (8th lowest)

According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the U.S. currently spends more on healthcare than any other developed country. Its health outcomes, however, are among the worst. The U.S. spent $8,745 per person on healthcare in 2012 and dedicated roughly 17 percent of its GDP to the industry. The U.S. has also made significant progress in reducing the proportion of adults who smoke tobacco, coming down from 19 percent in 2000 to 14 percent in 2012 – the lowest rate after Mexico, Sweden and Iceland. Obesity rates however have been on the rise to reach 35.3 percent in 2012, the highest rate among OECD countries. While most OECD countries were funded disproportionately by public sources, healthcare spending in the U.S. was divided evenly between public and private sources. Despite spending the most, however, the U.S. had one of the lowest life expectancies, resting at 78.7 years. The slower progress in life expectancy is due to gaps in health insurance coverage and proper primary care, poorer health-related behaviors and poor living conditions for a significant proportion of the U.S. population. 

This data has been compiled based on figures for the 34 developed countries that are members of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) from its 2014 Health Statistics Report; data from the OECD is from 2012. 

Share article

Dec 10, 2018

Top 10 healthcare innovations for 2019

medical devices
Top 10
Catherine Sturman
6 min
healthcare innovations
We take a look at some of the top 10 healthcare innovations which are transforming the sector

We take a look at some of the top 10 healthcare innovations which are transforming the sector

10. Telehealth

The telehealth market is booming. Consumers are leading increasingly busy lifestyles, with up to 60% favouring digitally-led services. Providing clinical care at a distance, increasing accessibility and eradicating potential delays has given patients greater control, boosting patient satisfaction and overall engagement. Such is its exponential growth, The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in the US has recently released its proposed Physician Fee Schedule and Qualified Payment Programme updates for 2019, where telehealth services has been heavily featured, in order to deliver ‘different access points’ for patients.  

9. Mobile technology

Consumers have become accustomed to accessing their data through the use of various digital tools, where the use of mobile and tablet health apps has tripled from 13% in 2014 to 48% today. Catering to this growing market, British based start-up Babylon Health is making waves on a global scale. Partnering with the National Health Service (NHS) and private health provider, Bupa, it has also cemented its presence across the flourishing Chinese market, with a membership base exceeding 1.4mn citizens across Europe, Asia and Africa. By partnering with global juggernaut Tencent, Babylon’s artificial intelligence system has enabled both parties to interact directly with users, identify specific illnesses, deliver health status assessments, and triage necessary actions. The mobile app is available to over a billion users and linked to more than 38,000 medical facilities in China alone.

8. Artificial intelligence 

Artificial intelligence (AI) applications, such as predictive analytics for patient monitoring has provided significant financial savings. Applications that target hospitals and medical institutions include patient monitoring and transcribing notes for electronic health records (EHRs). The European Union is set to invest $24bn into artificial intelligence (AI) by 2020 in a bid to catch up with Asia and the US, who have invested heavily in AI and cloud services. This year, Google revealed its plans to harness AI and machine learning across a multitude of consumer technologies, particularly in healthcare. “If AI can shape healthcare, it has to work through the regulations of healthcare. In fact, I see that as one of the biggest areas where the benefits will play out for the next 10-20 years,” Google CEO Sundar Pichai has previously stated.

7. Blockchain

Blockchain is estimated to reach over $5.61bn by the end of 2025, even though it remains dependent on the ability to record and store information conveniently, economically and securely amongst different applications and systems. Providing transparency and eliminating third-party intermediaries, processes are streamlined, reducing healthcare costs exponentially. Unlocking the ability for providers to deliver a value-based healthcare system and enhance patient engagement, blockchain could save the industry up to $100-$150bn per year by 2025 in data breach-related costs, IT costs, operations costs, support function costs and personnel costs, according to BIS Research. Partnering with pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Ethereum blockchain-based supply chain platform, Viant sought to accelerate the pace of blockchain-based supply chain systems. Accenture and supply chain giant DHL have also developed a blockchain-based serialisation prototype which tracks pharmaceuticals from the point of origin to the consumer.

6. Health wearables

With the rise of lifestyle diseases, such as diabetes, more consumers are turning to health wearables that monitor glucose, heart rate, physical activity and sleep to gain a greater understanding of their health conditions. Following on from the release of the first Bluetooth headset back in 2000, the growing interest in wearables has seen monitoring our health and data become standardised. This data can be analysed by sophisticated algorithms to drive long-term diagnosis and support. Partnering with Google, health wearables company Fitbit is exploring the development of consumer and enterprise health solutions. Its acquisition of HIPAA-compliant health platform, Twine Health has seen the business enhance its clinical services by bringing on board a coaching platform, empowering people to seek better health outcomes.

See also

5. Electronic health records tools

From 2018-2022, the electronic health records (EHR) market is expected to grow at a compound average rate of 6% per year Providers and organisations continue to house fragmented technologies which create barriers towards collaboration and data sharing opportunities. This is further exacerbated if a patient straddles both public and private healthcare. Technology giant Apple has integrated patients’ medical records into its Health App as part of its iOS 11.3 beta. The data is encrypted and protected with the user’s iPhone passcode. Partnering with hospital providers and clinics, patients are now able to view their medical records from multiple providers within one platform. Johns Hopkins Medicine, Cedars-Sinai, Penn Medicine, UC San Diego Health and even the Cleveland Clinic have implemented this technology.

4. Healthcare transportation 

Non-emergency health transportation remains a key issue worldwide, preventing patients from getting to or from a doctor’s appointment. 25% of lower-income patients have missed or rescheduled appointments due to lack of transportation, costing US health systems up to $150bn each year. Transportation companies such as Lyft and Uber have therefore entered the market by partnering with state governments to reduce these costs and deliver personalised patient care.

3. 3D Printing 

Healthcare providers are set to represent the second largest industry sector in 3D manufacturing. The Food & Drug Administration’s decision to release its first comprehensive framework advising manufacturers of 3D medical products highlights its growing impact where more than 100,000 knee replacement surgeries are completed each year using 3D-printed, patient-matched surgical guides, for example. Through this process, surfaces and structures can be optimised for strength, weight and material use. Consultation between surgeons and patients has also been bolstered, where patients can better understand the complexity of his or her specific needs.

2. Genomics

As consumers get more involved in the management of their health, consumer genetics and research companies have grown in popularity and scale. People want to further understand their genetic makeup, leading personal genomics and biotech company 23andMe to become one of the largest consumer-based organisations worldwide. Interestingly, this year, the company has entered a four-year collaboration with GSK to develop new treatments, but using human genetics as the basis for discovery.

Not only looking to develop treatments by analysing human genetics, pharmaceutical companies are looking to even remove hereditary genes which pass diseases down generations. In 2017, human embryos were successfully ‘edited’ through gene editing tool, CRISPR (Clustered, Regularly Interspaced, Short Palindromic Repeats), eradicating hypertrophic cardiomyopathy within 42 embryos.

1. Vertical integrations

As healthcare providers aim to provide greater transparency, promote collaboration and lower escalating patient costs, 2018 has been the year for a significant number of vertical integrations. CVS Health’s $68mn takeover of health insurer Aetna is a case in point. By influencing more of the supply chain, it will gain significant negotiating power to reduce costs for payers and patients, develop personalised solutions and improve overall outcomes. It will also promote the eradication of delays in process by removing any third parties within traditional business models. Other notable integrations are Optum’s acquisition of the DaVita Medical GroupHumana and Kindred Healthcare and Cigna and Express Scripts.

Reports have indicated that not only has the number of healthcare deals more than doubled in the last five years, the size of deals has also grown as a result of repeat investor interest, highlighting that this trend is here to stay.

Share article