Global Healthcare Expert in Austin says the U.S. Needs to Spend More on Medical Research

By LAURA LOREK
Reporter with Silicon Hills News

Chirstopher Kersey with Camden Partners and John Hopkins talking at the HealthCare Texas Innovation Capital Conference at Brazos Hall in downtown Austin.

Chirstopher Kersey with Camden Partners and John Hopkins talking at the HealthCare Texas Innovation Capital Conference at Brazos Hall in downtown Austin.

Austin has become a new hotspot for healthcare, technology and startup funding and a conference held downtown this week combined all of those ingredients.

The inaugural HealthCare Texas Innovation Capital Conference held at Brazos Hall Wednesday and Thursday attracted more than 450 attendees including more than 100 companies and 60 investors.

Christopher Kersey, partner of Camden Partners in Baltimore and a member of the board of directors of Johns Hopkins Aramco Healthcare, delivered the keynote address on Wednesday on Global Health Technology.

Johns Hopkins Aramco Healthcare is a recently announced joint venture between Johns Hopkins Medicine International and Saudi Aramco, the Saudi Arabian oil company.

McKinsey & Co. reports healthcare is the world’s largest industry. Kersey said it’s actually food and food processing, followed by healthcare and energy.
But the global healthcare industry is massive and growing in double digits, Kersey said. It’s a $5 trillion industry globally and about half that is U.S. healthcare expenditures, he said. Overall, healthcare makes up 15 percent of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product, compared to 7 percent globally, he said.

Healthcare is seeing double digit growth in a lot of private healthcare sectors around the world, Kersey said. India and Indonesia both present great opportunities along with China.

Healthcare expenditures are going to triple in China between 2008 and 2018, Kersey said.

“It is absolutely booming,” Kersey said.

The mega trend in China is the urbanization of healthcare services, Kersey said.

The Gulf Coast Consortium including the Arabian Peninsula is set to spend two to three times in healthcare including $14 billion on new healthcare facilities, Kersey said.

It’s important what happens in Saudi Arabia, Kersey said. It pours out throughout that entire region, he said. There is liquidity, there is movement and there is a very high demand for healthcare, he said.

Kersey also spent part of his time talking about global trends in healthcare research. In the U.S. funding for medical research was 6.3 percent until 2004-2005, Kersey said. Now the growth rate is less than one percent, he said.

“The private sector has been able to keep up as the government has leveled off its funding,” Kersey said. “So we’re having almost no growth on a year over year basis in the U.S. for medical research.”

Cancer is the big beneficiary globally of research dollars, Kersey said.

Global medical research funding is growing 3.5 percent. China is growing at 17 percent. Other Asian countries are growing at 20 percent.

The Asian countries’ healthcare industries are a lot smaller, but if the trends continue the U.S. is real trouble if it continues to only invest in research at one percent, Kersey said.

“We’re still the source for quality globally for great medical research,” Kersey said. But the dollars need to come in to continue to support it, he said.
China has as many people as we do working in science and tech.

The U.S. is absolutely dominant in patents but it is trailing off a little bit compared to other countries, Kersey said.

When it comes to clinical trials, North America and Europe still dominate the market. Kersey said. The infrastructure is not in China yet, but they are working on it.

Worldwide there is a huge correlation between dollars spent on healthcare and life expectancy. But in the U.S. there is no correlation, Kersey said. U.S. healthcare costs are out of control.

“We are clearly not getting our healthcare dollar value,” Kersey said.

Some of the megatrends affecting healthcare globally include Cybersecurity, personalized medicine and biopharmaceutical development, Kersey said.

Healthcare has the most Cybersecurity attacks than any other industry, Kersey said. Healthcare has 44 percent of Cybersecurity breaches, he said. Electronic Medical Record data is hacked five times more than it’s actually accessed by patients, Kersey said. The hackers hack for social security numbers and clinical diagnosis and then they bill third party payers for services, he said.

Ninety percent of healthcare organizations expect to have a data breach within the next year, he said.

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