The U.S. healthcare market remains the largest in the world, not only in terms of dollars spent, but also by the percentage of GDP — approximately $3 trillion a year and close to 18 percent of U.S. gross domestic product. We also spend more on healthcare per capita than any other country in the world.
Because of the size of our healthcare market, the demand and opportunity for innovation is also unequaled and provides an opening for a new generation of entrepreneurs to bring products to the industry, the government and, increasingly, directly to consumers.
Also, the United States uses a mix of delivery models. Many healthcare operations are owned and operated by private sector companies, and within the last 20 years we have seen considerable consolidation among these competitors. Yet, some 58 percent of U.S. community hospitals are non-profit. Twenty-one percent of community hospitals are government-owned and 21 percent are for-profit.
However, like all industry sectors, the United States is just a piece of a very large pie. Also, with more than one billion people on this planet having less than one dollar a day to live on, healthcare pioneers are looking for solutions that are not only substantially cheaper, but better than those currently used in the developed world.
In spite of all the advances, some of which we cover in this issue, medicine is still about people, not technology or biology. As William Osler, one of the founders of John Hopkins said, “The good physician treats the disease; the great physician treats the patient who has the disease.”