Healthcare Executives Optimistic About Their Companies, Cautious About the Economy

A survey of 250 healthcare and life sciences business leaders by advisory firm FTI Consulting (FTI) has shown that most have a positive outlook on the future of their industry. The Washington, DC-based FTI conducted its third-annual survey in November, polling leaders in public affairs, business development and marketing, investor relations, and corporate communications.

The results were promising: three-quarters of the respondents were optimistic about their company’s financial performance and ability to manage the changing landscape of hybrid work in a post-pandemic environment. More than half reported that they expect their budget for environmental, social, and governance (ESG) efforts to increase, along with predicting a greater focus on diversity and inclusion, health equity, employee engagement, and drug access and affordability.

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Executives were divided on politics, with more than half reporting that the Biden administration would make a positive impact on the industry in 2023, with slightly more than a third predicting negative effects. While the survey did not ask respondents why they felt this way, 75% agreed that it was increasingly difficult to sustainably provide healthcare services.

“From a financial perspective, 2022 was a difficult year for the healthcare and life sciences industry. When this occurs, companies review and evaluate the impact of public policy proposals and decisions on their business,” said Robert Stanislaro, Senior MD in FTI’s strategic communications segment. “As we kick off 2023, stakeholders in the industry will seek to better understand how the divided Congress, the administration, and other significant policy proposals, such as the Inflation Reduction Act, will impact key issues for the industry.”

In spite of the positive outlook for their own companies and the policy environment, 90% of executives expressed concern about the potential economic outlook of the industry and its potential impact on investments in 2023. Cybersecurity was also an area of concern, with a large percentage of respondents affirming that they had experienced a cybersecurity incident such as ransomware and phishing in the last year. Additionally, 42% of executives said they believed their organization is still vulnerable to future incidents, highlighting the need for companies to shore up their cyber defenses against increasing threats.

While the past few years have been a roller-coaster ride for the healthcare industry, executives overall seemed to have positive expectations for the year ahead, having successfully weathered a pandemic and some of the most disruptive years on record.