Global Inflation Impact on the Healthcare Industry

*The translation of this article in French and Portuguese has been made through machine translation and has not been edited yet. we apologise for any inaccuracies.

Record inflation all around the globe, a skyrocketing increase in energy prices, and a developing war are taking a toll on every region. How do healthcare professionals believe global inflation is affecting the healthcare industry, their workplaces, and patient care? Read about the opinions from over 8,400 HCPs in the M3 survey results below.

In 2012, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) announce a 2% inflation target. Since then, the 2% annual inflation rate target has become an international standard across central banks around the globe and is considered a healthy inflation rate to encourage business activity and steady economic growth.

The historical global inflation rate shown by Statista indicates that the annual inflation rate since 2000 has been fluctuating between 2-4% per year, except for sharp increases in 2008 and 2011 when inflation peaked over 6% and 5% respectively.

In 2022, the world experienced the highest inflation rate since the 1970s when inflation peaked at 14% due to extreme surges in oil prices. As of December 2022, the inflation rate in the European Union was 10.4% and in the US 8%, peaking at 9.1% in June 2022. Although inflation is expected to remain high for the time being, the IMF forecasts a decline to 6.5% in 2023 and down to 4.1% by 2024.

Recent spikes in the prices of food, goods, and service and the increase in energy prices affect every aspect of the global market, including the healthcare industry. Inflation, coupled with drug and workforce shortages, increasing demand for healthcare services, and reduced national healthcare budgets put hospitals and healthcare professionals under severe pressure.

Let´s go over some of the biggest challenges facing the healthcare industry according to our M3 panel members around the world.

Global inflation impact on the healthcare industry

The Impact of Inflation on Healthcare Professionals’ Life and Workplace – M3 Survey Results

After enduring two long years of the Covid-19 pandemic and dealing with the aftereffects and disruptions that followed, the healthcare sector is once again hit with another challenge. How do healthcare professionals cope with the current economic situation with an increase in energy prices, and what measures do they take to protect themselves from inflation plus a potential economic recession? 

We asked over 8,400 M3 panel members which factors related to global inflation they feel are most impacting the healthcare sector, patients, and their personal life. This survey was conducted between October and December 2022.

The participants are working as physicians or other healthcare professionals in 14 countries across Europe and the USA, mostly in hospitals and private practices. 55% have been working for over five years at their current workplace. Check out the full results below.

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84% of respondents agree that global inflation is affecting the healthcare sector in their country, with the top factors being workforce shortages and increasing prices of medications and clinical equipment.

The top three impacts of inflation on healthcare professionals’ personal life

  1. Increased workload due to staff budget reductions
  2. Increased stress and mental health problems
  3. Decrease in disposable income due to increasing housing costs

The top three impacts of inflation on patient care

  1. Longer waiting times
  2. Reduced access to treatment due to increasing costs
  3. Reduced availability of hospital beds due to budget cuts

56% of respondents feel that their workplace does not support them to deal with the impacts of inflation, whilst 31% feel somewhat supported. The majority of the responders think that national healthcare authorities should provide financial aid, wage adjustments, and financial packages to help them better cope with global inflation.

Top five measures healthcare professionals are taking to protect themselves from inflation

  1. Cost savings
  2. Looking for additional sources of income and part-time jobs
  3. Invest savings and move savings to high-yield accounts
  4. Relocating
  5. Re-mortgaging property

What measures are you personally taking to protect yourself from the impacts of inflation? Share your experiences about the increase in energy prices and inflation in the comment section below and connect with us on LinkedIn for more updates.

increase in energy prices - war - healthcare industry

Medical Inflation Compared to Inflation in the Rest of the Economy

Medical inflation describes a situation in which there is an increase in the average and unit cost of healthcare services over time. This is a global phenomenon that impacts countries differently. Some factors driving medical inflation include:
  • High demand for healthcare services
  • The rising cost of raw materials or labour
  • Supply or labour shortages
  • Advancement in technology
  • Changes in consumer behaviours

Historically, medical care prices have generally grown faster than overall consumer prices. Between 2000 and 2022, the price of medical care rose by 110.1% whilst prices for all consumer goods and services rose by 71.3% in the same period. In comparison to October last year, overall prices grew by 7.7%, while prices for medical care increased by 5.0%.*

This means that general inflation surpassed medical inflation, which is highly unusual, and may lead to higher prices for medical care and medical insurance in the upcoming years. The prediction for global inflation is to reduce to 6.5% in 2023, whilst the forecast for medical inflation is to increase.

According to the 2023 Global Medical Trends Survey Report by WTW, global medical costs are projected to increase to 10.0% in 2023, an increase from 8.8% in 2022 and 8.2% in 2021. Apart from widespread inflation and increasing demand for healthcare services, the survey found that other driving factors for rising medical inflation include:

  • Overuse of care due to medical professionals recommending too many services or overprescribing
  • Poor health habits among consumers
  • The underuse of preventive services

As a healthcare professional, do you agree with these driving factors? Leave a comment below with your opinion. If you want to participate in our next M3 member survey, keep an eye out for “M3 Pulse” on your M3 member dashboard.

Not a member yet? Join our global panel of over 2 million healthcare professionals worldwide and earn extra income by participating in paid healthcare studies that will improve patient care tailored to your medical profession.

If you found “Global inflation impact on the healthcare industry” interesting, you may also enjoy reading the results from our M3 pulse survey below.

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  1. I’ve seen people put off “elective” treatments which can lead to longer recoveries as an individual ages. In addition, I’ve seen more third party agencies be more stringent thus limiting who is able to seek treatment as well.

  2. I work in a nursing home so definitely see the the decrease in medical supplies an medications a lot also in my personal life sometimes the pharmacy doesn’t have my meds available an have to check other pharmacies!

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