Global health care spending will triple over the next 15 years to $10 trillion dollars, according to survey findings by PricewaterhouseCoopers Inc.[@@]

The survey projects that health care spending will consume 21% of the gross domestic product in the U.S. Such spending is the highest in the world at more than twice the amount per person ($5,635) than in other developed countries ($2,192, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development).

The survey of 250 U.S. health care leaders was part of a larger worldwide study, HealthCast 2020, which addresses health trends and solutions for building a stronger, sustainable health system.

Other key findings:

o About half of U.S. health leaders surveyed said direct cost-sharing by patients would be effective or very effective at controlling demand for health care.

o When asked what are important or very important to the future sustainability of the nation’s health care system, more than 80% said equal access to care, 66% said market-driven competition and 39% said medical technology will need to be rationed.

o 75% of health leaders surveyed said that the health system would improve if consumers knew the price of care and had a way to evaluate quality and safety among health care organizations and physicians. Yet only 38% believed U.S. hospitals were equipped to meet the challenges of empowered consumers.

o 68% said that providing financial incentives to health care stakeholders would cut costs, and 58% said this would also improve patient satisfaction.

o U.S. health leaders saw patient advocacy groups as having the largest influence on improving health care quality, and patient education as offering the most potential to improve integration and efficiency of the health care system.

o 74% viewed information technology as important or very important for integrating health care.