At Advisory Board's 2022 Service Line Summit in October, leaders from across health care sectors, including both health systems and life sciences companies, gathered to discuss trends, challenges, and solutions for infusion services.
After a presentation of our 2022 Infusion Market Trends, attendees were presented with two scenarios related to each trend and asked to place a mark on the spectrum indicating where infusion care will be in 2032.
Trend #1: New treatment options are altering infusion economics
Participants were divided on whether innovations in infusion treatment (including biosimilars, cell and gene therapies, and new formulations of infused drugs) will increase or decrease average drug spend per infusion patient.
Those on the "increase" side noted that historically, new treatments have led to a rise in drug spending. But others believed that increasing government interest in reducing drug costs and the rapidly growing biosimilars market will decrease infusion drug spending over the next decade—as long as government intervention doesn't unintentionally drive up prices. One service line leader pointed out that the impact may differ for Medicare and commercial-pay patients.
Trend #2: The infusion care landscape is becoming more competitive
With private equity groups, large national payers, and other players throwing their hats into the infusion care ring, it's not surprising that service line leaders see more infusions moving out of the health system to other sites of care.
Participants cited pressure from insurers and greater confidence in the safety of non-hospital-based infusions when explaining their predictions for the future. However, some participants believed in health systems' ability to implement creative solutions to keep infusion patients in-system, such as investing in community-based freestanding infusion sites or home infusion.
Trend #3: Federal and state policies are reshaping the infusion care landscape
The participating service line leaders agreed it is more likely for white bagging to be prohibited than for it to become the norm in infusion care. Some states have already passed anti-white bagging legislation, and others could become motivated to do so if a major white bagging-related public safety event were to occur.
In addition, one participant mentioned that cell and gene therapies are not as conducive to white bagging as other infused drugs, leaving payers to seek other ways to reduce drug costs.
Which trend will have the biggest impact on infusion care moving forward?
From new drugs that are fundamentally shifting the way we think about infusion care economics, to more infusion care providers vying for patients, to federal and state policies on topics like 340B, Medicare negotiation, and white bagging, each of these trends will significantly influence infusion care. But while it was a close vote, participants ultimately predicted that federal and state policies will have the biggest impact on infusion care moving forward.
There are many changes happening in infusion care, and we expect to see continued shifts in the infusion landscape in coming years. It's important for those involved in infusion care to keep a close eye on the industry and be ready to respond as new opportunities and challenges arise.