In most Western societies, the quality of healthcare and medical facilities has reached an impressive baseline due to series
of innovations. To name just a few: self-testing, long distance monitoring and imaging, biotechnology and big data
analysis. Healthcare providers and pharmaceutical companies are gaining more knowledge, competences and capabilities
every day. Patients spend less time in hospital beds: from an average ten to an average of four days, a decrease of 60% in
less than two decades. Life expectancy has signiﬁcantly improved and more focus has been put on prevention.
Nevertheless, medical organizations and pharmaceutical companies will need to battle a number of economic challenges.
The relatively higher quality level comes with a price. Better and faster research, development, prevention and treatment
result in higher medical costs. Ageing populations are responsible for an undiminished increase in the demand for care,
while the gross national product of most western societies is decreasing.
Medical organizations and pharmaceutical companies will need to battle a
number of economic challenges while technology, legislation and patient em-
powerment are disrupting the status quo.
While competition in medical markets is stimulated, it is at the same time carefully monitored and restricted by
competition commissions and fair trade oﬃces. While research and development in medicine is a collective interest,
realizing a return on investment before medicine become generic is a private strategy. Technology, legislation and patient
empowerment are disrupting this status quo. In response, medical organizations and pharmaceutical companies are
evaluating a number of strategic options. One option is to diﬀerentiate their portfolio on service and price levels to
achieve a competitive advantage. Other options include specialization by creating centers of expertise, outsourcing ﬁrst
phase research programs to pharmaceutical start-ups and rearranging medical tasks between less knowledge-intensive
medical organizations. The most disruptive option is to embrace self-diagnosis as a means to simplify the medical model
and enable individuals to non-stop monitor and control their health. While a patient will always remain a patient, each
individual is empowered to bear some of the responsibility for many diﬀerent roles in the medical process.