First, the good news: Health care executives understand that they need to work together to address the challenges facing their industry. The bad news? Few such collaborations are happening now.

But there’s reason for optimism. While biopharmaceutical companies, insurance companies and health care providers realize that they’re not working together now, they all largely agree that they need to work together more and expect that these collaborations will come soon.

Those are some of the findings from a new report from Durham pharmaceutical services firm Quintiles (NYSE:Q). The “Collaboration Mandate” report is based on independent surveys of more than 300 health care executives in the United States and Europe. It expands on Quintiles’ “New Health Report,” which the CRO has released the last three years.

According to this year’s survey findings, just 18 percent of biopharmaceutical executives said they were “mostly aligned” with other stakeholders. Just 16 percent of U.S. payers, 19 percent of European payers and 17 percent of providers say they are aligned with other players. It’s no surprise alignment hasn’t happened. These industry players have historically operated mostly independent of each other, choosing to develop their own process to address their own problems.

“The incentives, mission and goal for the different stakeholders are different,” one unidentified U.S. payer in the told Quintiles in the survey. “Each stakeholder wants their ‘fair’ share of the dollars and is not willing to give it up. So with conflicting incentives, this is not a recipe for success or collaboration.”

Collaboration will come soon. About half of pharma and payers and about 60 percent of health care providers expect to be aligned with other players within three to five years, according to survey responses.

The report argues for breaking down the silos that left each separate piece of the wide-ranging health care system to develop their own processes independently. The report says biopharma leaders should be leaders in the industry transformation. If their products, the result of years of investment, don’t become viable their companies have the most to lose.

All players expect technology to play a role in the coming collaborations. The Quintiles report points out IBM’s recent partnership with WellPoint and Memorial Sloan Kettering to build a technology system that can process, analyze and interpret the meaning of complex clinical information using natural language processing. The goal is to develop technology that improves health care quality and efficiency.

[QUINTILES ARCHIVE: Check out more than a decade of Quintiles stories as reported in WRAL Tech Wire.]