Is Acute’s little brother Rehab coming of age?

HBI has just finished a deep dive into the rehabilitation sector. This small, fragmented, poor relative of acute care is often ignored by operators. A perception of low margins and a reluctance among acute hospitals to refer on to rehab cannot be helping. But things are changing, and new markets are opening up.

Those markets growing the fastest – some in Eastern Europe, and in Russia – have recently stemmed the flood of patients flowing abroad and turned it into a trickle by building quality services at home. Russia, in particular, is seeing a lot of neuro-rehab hospitals being built.

Elsewhere new markets are effectively springing up from scratch. In the GCC there has been so little rehab done historically that eye-wateringly fast growth is predicted, albeit from a very low base. But even in mature markets, specifically Germany, France, Switzerland and Italy, we hear growth in rehab is outstripping hospitals as payors clamp down on costs in the latter.

Where are the opportunities? We are told a cash market is flourishing in the UK and Poland where public provision is lacking – yet we see little evidence of this.

But there are, undoubtedly,  consolidation opportunities – especially considering the benefits of apps, wearables, and careful patient pathway planning. “All” that is needed is the right business model.

Is this it? Readers will see in this week’s stories this is an area where new ideas are being trialled – though how viable a business model predicated on turning homeowners spare rooms into miniature rehab centres and paying them for the privilege is remains to be seen.

We’ve spent the last couple of months looking at this sector and the fruits of our labour are about to go live. Subscribers to HBI Intelligence should check out the rehab section of our website next week for a country-by country breakdown of policy, players and markets.

We would welcome your thoughts on this story. Email your views to David Farbrother or call 0207 183 3779.