Rising costs forced patients to postpone or stop treatments in 2022 and it will take years for the conditions to improve to get the backlogs cleared, finds GlobalData, a data and analytics company.
In a GlobalData’s survey* titled “The Impact of Inflation on the Healthcare Sector – Physician Perspective”, a total of 69 per cent of surveyed physicians confirmed that the number of patients stopping, or postponing treatment increased due to rising costs of healthcare in their countries in 2022. 78 per cent of physicians believed that it would take more than two years for this situation to stabilise.
Urte Jakimaviciute, Senior Director of Market Research at GlobalData, comments, “Increasing costs of healthcare had and continue to have a considerable impact on patients by triggering them to postpone or stop their treatments. It will take years for the situation to return to equilibrium. Due to the cost-of-living crisis, people have less disposable income, which may lead to cutting less essential expenditure, such as routine care. Nevertheless, delaying procedures and medical care could result in future complications and worsening health. For healthcare systems, it can create further backlogs and lead to increased spending on care.”
Compared to other researched markets (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the UK and Japan), the US respondents reported the highest increase in patients stopping or postponing treatments (87 per cent). A majority of physicians believed that the number of patients considering “out-of-pocket” costs as a more important factor when choosing a treatment option increased in 2022. This percentage was the highest in the US.
Jakimaviciute adds, “According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, from December 2021 to December 2022, consumer prices in medical care services increased by 4 per cent. Even though this rate is below the overall inflation level, the US has the most expensive healthcare system. Annual drug spending in the US is one of the highest in the world. Any rise in medical care costs can have a big impact on the affordability of healthcare.”
Jakimaviciute concludes, “Even though many governments around the world increased healthcare funding to enhance healthcare services’ capacity to deal with COVID-19 and post-COVID-19 related pressures, increasing inflation levels will ultimately mean less funds for the healthcare sector.”
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