2024 is just around the corner—and many healthcare leaders are taking stock and forecasting what we might see in the new year. At TailorMed, we decided to ask some of our own experts to discuss their top healthcare predictions, particularly around affordability.

Here, three TailorMed leaders share their thoughts on what’s to come in 2024:

Srulik Dvorsky, Co-Founder and CEO:

A Focus on Health Equity

“This year, the industry focused considerable attention on inequities in the healthcare system. In 2024 and beyond, health equity will continue to be a key focus. In fact, a recent Deloitte survey found that 80% of C-suite executives in medicine and life sciences cited health equity as a top priority for the new year. Around half also said that they plan to step up health equity investments. These leaders not only recognize that patients deserve equal access to high-quality care, but they also see this as a business driver. While hospitals and health systems showed signs of stabilization this year, workforce-related challenges persisted, keeping costs high and increasing access barriers. Inequities cost Americans $320 billion per year in avoidable healthcare expenses, a number that could rise to $1 trillion by 2040.

In this climate, we can expect to see more initiatives aimed at reducing costs for patients and healthcare organizations alike. As consumers seek greater control over their healthcare journeys, patient engagement and empowerment will be important components of these efforts. Forward-thinking organizations will lean into technology to help achieve these aims and overcome operational obstacles. For instance, technology solutions can help providers and pharmacies proactively identify financially at-risk patients and match them with assistance. These solutions enable healthcare entities to increase patient cost savings, while reducing manual workloads for overburdened staff. They also allow organizations to track progress and measure ROI, which must be realized to evaluate the effectiveness of health equity strategies.

It’s incumbent upon health system, pharmacy, and life science leaders to ensure all patients, regardless of their circumstances, have access to the care they need. Heading into 2024, I’m hopeful that more executives will adopt a holistic, tech-powered approach to reducing disparities.”

Clara Lambert, Director of Financial Navigation and Product Subject Matter Expert:

A Changing Patient Assistance Landscape

“In 2023, the federal government reviewed a number of laws and policies that impact affordability. New rulings and guidance on the Inflation Reduction Act, copay accumulators, and more stand to reduce out-of-pocket costs considerably, though legal challenges remain. 

Next year, we can also expect to see significant changes in patient assistance in terms of who can get it and how they can use it. For instance, drug manufacturers are already taking action to conserve their assistance programs by ensuring these resources only go to patients with the most need. Given the dynamic nature of these programs, financial navigators will have to be even more agile and flexible in 2024. They can’t get stuck in old ways of doing things. For example, if a patient no longer qualifies for a manufacturer’s free drug program, the navigator should ask, “What’s another way I can help this patient?” This may mean switching the patient to another insurance plan, so that their medication is covered. It could also mean looking into charitable assistance and living expense funds, especially as patients are still coping with the burdens of inflation.

While we’re seeing a stronger healthcare industry, staffing shortages are an ongoing issue—and this probably won’t turn around in 2024, especially in rural areas. As a result, healthcare organizations will continue to assign the task of financial navigation to overloaded staff who lack specific training in this area. If the industry truly wants to tackle affordability, leaders should explore all tools at their disposal—including technology and support services—to ensure they can keep up with the changing landscape of patient assistance and maximize cost savings.”

Dawn Cocker, Director of Life Sciences:

An Evolving Market

“In 2023, we’ve seen a few big trends in the life science industry that will likely continue in the new year. One major development was that new biosimilars hit the market. While biosimilars are still expensive, they are expected to bring down overall drug costs in the coming years. One report estimated that biosimilars could save the U.S. health system almost $54 billion on biologics spending through 2026.

This year, we also saw a growing realization from pharmaceutical companies that one financial assistance solution doesn’t fit all patients. In 2024, manufacturers will continue to look for ways to make their patient support programs more flexible to meet patients’ evolving needs. As the markets become more crowded, pharmaceutical manufacturers are also focused on differentiation. Over the past year, we’ve seen more manufacturers recognize that swift enrollment in financial assistance can be a differentiator. This means patients can get on therapy more quickly—and they can afford to maintain treatment for successful outcomes. Drugmakers who demonstrate these positive financial experiences can distinguish themselves with patients, prescribers, payers, and other stakeholders.

Going forward, pharmaceutical companies understand they have a key role to play in holistic patient care. So, it’s not just about educating patients on how to take a particular medication. It’s about connecting patients and their caregivers with the support and resources to manage every aspect of their disease—including costs. Based on our experiences this year, I predict more manufacturers will lean into technology to optimize their financial assistance workflows, ensuring patients get the help they need as efficiently as possible.”