The theme of economic urgency continues to play out in Round 1 in the Purchasers region, where the trends focused on price and affordability handily defeated their opponents. This included the upset win of Price Transparency over Consumerism, proving that in 2023, for providers, payers and patients, it’s all about the money. 

Explore the interactive bracket and watch the tournament unfold weekly on our LinkedIn page, where you can join the discussion too!

Here’s how the four matchups in this region unfolded:

Healthcare Purchasers Trends

Direct Contracting Beats Employer Coalitions

Employer Coalitions (8) is one of those cyclical trends that come and go, while Direct Contracting (1) models appear to be slower to roll out but more sustainable and able to absorb volatility,” said one Committee Member. 

“The challenge with Employer Coalitions is that every HR team, every company has a different set of priorities for their health benefits. Direct Contracting is easier to start and implement,” said another. 

A dissenting Committee Member countered, saying due to the rising cost of healthcare premiums and employers making grand gestures to attract and retain employees, “I think we’re going to see significant activity around Employer Coalitions this year like we’ve never seen.” 

Final score: 4-1.

Affordability Hammers Convenience 

In this highly anticipated rematch from 2022, Affordability (2) put the hammer down on Convenience (7) in a 5-0 no-contest blow out, getting its revenge after an embarrassing upset last year.  

“Affordability is high on [customers’] minds this year.”

“What we hear from our customers loud and clear is that affordability is high on their minds this year,” said one Committee Member, with all in complete agreement. 

The immediate agreement and lack of discussion around this topic shows just how athletic the Affordability trend is, announcing itself as one to watch in this year’s bracket.

Price Transparency Upsets Consumerism 

Committee Members discussed the amount of information that has been published and the dollars being spent getting Price Transparency (6) into a form that’s usable for patients. 

“The non-compliance fees are adding up,” pointed out one Committee Member. 

“The biggest use case for me right now is on the B2B side,” said another. 

“Both had good seasons, but Price Transparency’s championship season is still a few years away,” said a third. 

In a second tournament upset, Price Transparency edged out Consumerism (3) with a 3-2 final score to move on to Round 2.

Pharmacy and Drug Spending Bests Condition-Specific Solutions 

Condition-Specific Solutions (5) are having impact, but their scope is too limited,” expressed one Committee Member right out of the gate. 

Others also gave their votes to Pharmacy and Drug Spending (4) due to price disruption, the uniting of so many health organizations against the pharmacy value chain to reduce drug prices, and the emergence of ultra-expensive drugs. 

Less than two percent of the population is on a specialty drug, which accounts for 50 percent of the drug spending in America, an imbalance that illustrates just how wildly out of control this trend is.

Which trends do you think will shape the industry in 2023? 


This is commentary from our 2023 March Healthcare Classic. Explore this year’s interactive bracket to see the most impactful healthcare trends face off.