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Brexit and the U.S. Healthcare Space – Any Implications?

By: | Tags: | Comments: 0 | August 5th, 2016

We have been watching with the same amazement that many others worldwide have been regarding the referendum to remain or leave the European Union by voters in the United Kingdom. As someone who left a communist controlled country as a child, I will loudly admit I have a fascination with democracy and free elections. The vote last Thursday was captivating to watch live, and clearly I had a long night here on the East Coast of the U.S. watching the results.

We had a gut feeling that the public polls may be off. Here in the U.S., we have seen them to be off in particular with the campaign of Donald J. Trump. Quite frequently, we’ve heard some media sources try to say there is no correlation, however, there could be. (More on this topic to come.)

Markets hemorrhaged more than $2 trillion on Friday alone according to data from S&P Global; this is the worst on record. As I type this, the markets are continuing to fall, and are troubled by the outcome.

I actually have been scratching my head trying to figure out what the Brexit impact could mean for healthcare here in the U.S., and I actually can’t find much, if any.

The biggest U.K. companies that do business in the U.S. are mostly pharmaceuticals and medical equipment companies like GlaxoSmithKline PLC, AstraZeneca PLC, Pfizer Ltd, Renovo Group PLC, and Vectura Group PLC. On the export side there’s retailer Walgreens Boots Alliance, which controls the largest pharmacy network in the U.S. and Europe. Frankly, I can’t see how any issues in the U.K. will help or hurt the U.S. healthcare industry in a material way.

Healthcare IT in the U.K. is not effective, and it has to do with the struggles by the National Health Systems and the effective failures with their conversion to electronic healthcare records.

The Guardian newspaper reported it this way in 2013:

An abandoned NHS patient record system has so far cost the taxpayer nearly £10bn, with the final bill for what would have been the world’s largest civilian computer system likely to be several hundreds of millions of pounds higher, according a highly critical report from parliament’s public spending watchdog.

MPs on the public accounts committee said final costs are expected to increase beyond the existing £9.8bn because new regional IT systems for the NHS, introduced to replace the National Programme for IT, are also being poorly managed and are riven with their own contractual wrangles.

There is also the case that involved Epic EHR $300 Million (USD) issue as reported by Healthcare IT News in 2015:

The rollout of a $300M Epic EHR implementation at Cambridge University Hospitals in the U.K. is making a bad financial situation worse, according to news reports from across the pond.

Both CEO Keith M. McNeil and CFO Paul James of Cambridge have resigned, and the finances are under investigation.

“This is the first Epic EMR implementation in the U.K. and the resignations come amid increasing scrutiny of Cambridge’s deteriorating financial condition,” financial services firm Robert W. Baird wrote in a September 21 note to investors. “Several other U.K. hospitals intend to install Epic, but Papworth Hospital recently concluded Epic did not provide the best value.”

I had a grasp of what was going on with the voting at the grassroots level, however, I did notice one line in a report from a major U.S. bank today. “Support for Brexit was particularly strong among older voters and those without a college degree. Those two groups constitute the core of Donald Trump’s supporters in the U.S.” No further comment is needed.

We’ll fully believe that there will not be any major changes in law or statutes that would materially change U.S. healthcare, with likely either candidate for U.S Presidency. The drive from all spectrums is for more technology, more accountable care, better reporting, transparency of care and cost, and at the end, more managed care. The differences though are simply about what to do with the savings afterwards.

What is of interest to us though is the bifurcation that seems be happening. Let me remind you about our blog from January 28, 2016, where we tried to make two points:

• Something material is happening in the economy with baby boomers getting older and spending less on everything but healthcare

• Millennials are having a different view of the world than their parents We ended that last blog with:

“All these words are a warning, if you are not into healthcare or technology and technology driven solutions, tread carefully. One is driven by the generation that has driven everything for 70 years and the other combines the Boomer and Millennials for now [referring for the fascination with technology]. We will see how those change over the next decade.”

-Noel J. Guillama, President

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