It’s that time of year again, so I’m going to chime in with some fact-driven predictions for 2014. There will be less demand for healthcare: Medical inflation is predicted to go down by 6.5% (lower than in 2013), according to Pricewaterhouse Coopers’ Health Research Institute (HRI). What’s to blame? Partly it’s companies scrambling to find new avenues, opportunities, and models for delivering healthcare. And, of course, there’s the elephant in the room: the Affordable Care Act. With fewer dollars to spend, people will be delaying or completely rethinking the need for medical tests and procedures, especially elective ones.

We’ll see more healthcare consolidation: Health industry consolidation has risen by more than 50% since 2009 and is expected to continue to rise next year, according to the same HRI report. How will it affect us? If you guessed higher prices in some areas, you are correct! HRI estimates that when hospitals merge, we may see price increases of up to 20%.

Specialty drugs will blossom: Thanks to molecular and genetic advancements, we can expect that up to 60% of new approvals by the FDA and seven of the top ten best-selling treatments will be specialty drugs in 2014, according to another HRI report. This is great news for chronic and debilitating diseases, such as multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis. Will we see a cure for cancer? I sure hope so, but probably not quite yet.

The medical device market will grow, too: Worldwide medical technology sales are forecast to grow by 4.4% a year, reaching $440 billion in sales by 2018, according to an EvaluatePharma report. In vitro diagnostics are expected to be the world’s largest medical technology segment, with expected sales of $55 billion. This is great news for patients with difficult-to-diagnose diseases.

Hypertargeting will become a buzzword for clinical research: Genetic advancements and low-cost gene sequencing have made it possible to recruit patients for clinical trials based on their genetic and biomarker profiles. I’m anxious to see how it will positively affect outcomes.

We’ll have more data, but won’t use it: Sixty-nine percent of marketers surveyed said they would consume more marketing data if they had more time to analyze it, according to a DOMO report. We also continue to struggle with how we define ROI, particularly with social media. Three out of four marketers said that they still cannot calculate it.

Social media will provide greater patient insights: Another HRI report estimated that one-third of consumers were using social media for health-related concerns in 2012. That number should definitely rise. What’s more interesting is that a greater number of consumers are going to patient community websites than pharmaceutical websites. There are lessons we can learn from this insight.

The FDA will not provide a clear draft guidance on social media: They will produce a vague document that is bound to generate more questions than answers. In their defense, it’s uncharted territory for everyone. Will they meet their deadline in 2014? I think so, but we probably won’t receive as much guidance as we want.

Mobile content marketing will be king: According to a Forbes report, nearly 60% of all businesses now include content marketing in their overall marketing strategy. The day is fast approaching when mobile will overtake desktop. Marketers will scramble for ways to automate their content, which is challenging to get right (and to make sound right).

I would love to be able to predict a happy, healthy, and wealthy holiday season for you, but the best I can do is wish that it happens. Talk to you next year!