U.S. Healthcare Market Pales in Comparison to the Rising Billions
The United States has the biggest healthcare industry in the world, spending approximately $3 trillion a year. By 2018, healthcare will comprise close to 18% US gross domestic product – a sizable market opportunity for a new generation of entrepreneurs selling innovations to the industry, the government, and increasingly directly to consumers.
The highly publicized “$3 trillion” figure is a staggering, but ultimately distracting number when it comes to predicting future opportunities for healthcare innovation. Instead of focusing on the bloated US economy, long-term investors and entrepreneurs looking to make a dent in the universe should turn their focus to the rest of the world that currently has limited, or no access, to health care at all.
In practical terms, the US market is where it’s at for most upstarts today. And for good reason: it’s a huge market with new demands. But for those dreaming to change the game completely, a myopic focus on the US ignores the coming leapfrog opportunities in China, India, and throughout Africa and elsewhere. The healthcare market is global, and forward-thinking entrepreneurs understand that economic needs for health services are expanding far beyond US borders.
Over the next five years, somewhere between three and five billion new consumers will be connected to the internet for the first time, according to entrepreneur Peter Diamandis, who calls these new consumers “the rising billion.” The rising billion are consumers of goods and services, but they are also patients in need of medical care.
They should not be ignored. They are the future of radical healthcare transformation; the solutions created for them will boomerang back to solve today’s biggest healthcare challenges: access, quality and cost.
With more than one billion people on Earth living on less than $1 per day, engineers and healthcare pioneers are looking for solutions that are not only radically cheaper, but also better than those used in the US. For example, a new molecular diagnostic test called GeneXpert is being used in developing nations to quickly and accurately diagnose tuberculosis, still one of the most deadly diseases worldwide. Another tech solution in Sub Saharan Africa helps patients with internal bleeding from a car accident or complication during pregnancy. In order to survive, these patients need to have their blood safely removed, filtered and returned. A simple device called Hemafuse allows even untrained persons to safely treat internal bleeding.