Through positive wellness and personalised pharma, robotics and genetics, digital applications and patient-centric business models … the future of health is about specialisation and innovation, patient-centric solutions that are faster and more efficient. The fast-changing science is one factor, however far more significant is the convergence of pharma and biotech, insurance and hospitals, physicians and pharmacists … working together to make life better.
Personal, predictive and positive
For just $99 we can see our life before us, with a DNA profile from 23 and Me, and as a result we go to PatientsLikeMe to find out how others have responded. We eat the best foods from GSK, and check our daily fitness with Nike+, maybe with a little help from Avumio’s diagnostic apps and online advice from Dr Koop.
If we need help, we turn to ZocDoc where a local nurse with Epocrates at his fingertips, who prescribes a standard drug from Wuxi, or a custom prescription from Genentech. A night in W Hotel’s clinic, or a surgical trip to Antalya is unlikely. Instead we spray on our L’Oreal skin protection, sip on our super-vitamin Zespri kiwi juice, and smile.
The future of healthcare is personal, predictive and proactive, using advanced diagnostics so that people can themselves understand their likely conditions, and take better actions now to reduce risks or avoid illnesses. In this sense it is about positive wellbeing, rather than caring or curing. However when misfortune does strike, then care is about patients and personalisation, putting people at the heart of the medical process, supported by physicians and pharmaceuticals which are right for individuals.
Today we live in hope that we will stay healthy. Improved diets and active lifestyles intuitively reduce our concerns, but when something does go wrong we put our faith in a system that is largely designed around medical science and operational efficiencies. We wait in line for a hospital bed, for a standard procedure, for a generic drug. And once we get the all clear, we disappear until the next problem. When was the last time when you talked to a doctor whilst feeling good, and staying fit?
The future is different. It sees a convergence of sectors, enabled by an integration of technologies, the personalisation of science, and business models that are more human and commercial.
We recognise that prevention is better, and cheaper, than cure: cholesterol-reducing margarines, UV protection built into cosmetics, anti-statins to every over 50 in order to reduce the risk of heart disease, regular scans for people with family histories, blood pressure monitored daily by your smart watch, fitness parks designed for middle aged retirees, compression socks for long-haul flights. Drug companies make functional foods, sports companies create wellbeing devices, hospitals offer fitness programs, medical centres offer beauty treatments, cosmetics brands help you look good and live better.
From biotechnology to pharmaceuticals, governments to surgeons, sports clinics to supermarket pharmacies, cosmetics to functional foods, mobile technologies and online communities, many different partners and services will come together to keep us alive and well.
Digital and mobile, catalysts of change
Big data for fast and remote diagnostics, wearable sensors for body management, sit alongside more innovative solutions like 3D organ printing and robotic surgery. Advances in technology are allowing for the provision of affordable, decentralised healthcare for the masses and are lowering the barriers to entry in less developed markets.
Of all the advances, mobile technology is the catalyst for change. The phone and tablet enable distribution of a broad range of medical and support services in hospitals, and particularly in countries with little or no healthcare infrastructure and areas in which there are few trained healthcare professionals. These technologies also allow trained professionals to perform quality control remotely.
Amongst the many significant developments is a shift towards one-on-one, in-field diagnostics and monitoring. Services that were once only available at a doctor’s office or hospital are now available on-demand through low-tech, affordable solutions. Personal systems allow for “good enough” diagnostics that would have been difficult, expensive, and timely to attain previously.
Meet the Gamechangers in Futurehealth
23andMe – The $99 DNA profile could change your life
23andMe can transform our attitudes to health, diet and mortality … but also entire industries, drugs driven by future needs, healthcare refocused on prevention, insurance premiums to reflecting new risks.
Babylon Health – Everyone's personal health service
Babylon seeks to to democratise healthcare by putting an accessible and affordable health service into the hands of every person on earth. In order to achieve this babylon has brought together one of the largest teams of scientists, clinicians, mathematicians and engineers to focus on combining the ever growing computing power of machines with the best medical expertise of humans to create a comprehensive, immediate and personalised health service and make it universally available.
Buurtzorg – The revolutionary Dutch healthcare model
The fully self-managed home-care organisation in The Netherlands has grown to 14,000 employees in a decade. Customer satisfaction is highest in their segment while employee satisfaction is through the roof. In 2006, Jos de Blok started Buurtzorg with a team of 4 nurses. After being a nurse himself for years at a traditional home-care organisation, Jos felt their way of working got in the way of delivering proper healthcare due to too much bureaucracy and too little autonomy. Today Buurtzorg employs over 14,000 nurses and care workers.
CVS Health – The One Stop Health Shop
CVS Health describes itself as a pharmacy innovation company with a simple and clear purpose: helping people on their path to better health.
Epocrates – The doctor’s brain in the palm of his hand
Instant access to technical and patient knowledge transforms the speed at which doctors can offer diagnosis and treatment. This results in improved decisions, delivering faster treatments, at lower costs.
Grail – To detect cancer early, when it can be cured
There are currently between 14 and 15 million cases of cancer reported globally each year. With such early detection Grail has the potential to save millions of lives in the future – before people even realise anything is wrong.
Infervision – Chinese AI transforming healthcare
AI is enabling businesses to radically innovate, processing huge amounts of data using machine learning to be more precise and predictive. In the diagnostics of medical conditions, Infervision enables scans to be interpreted more accurately, problems to be identified more quickly, and potential conditions avoided.
Intuitive Surgical – Heart surgery by robot, and the surgeon with the joystick
Intuitive Surgical harnesses robotic technologies to enhance human capability. Better surgery, faster and more precise, is the main benefit, whilst also reducing the time and cost of operations.
Lucky Iron Fish – Low on iron? Cook with the Lucky Iron Fish.
Lucky Iron Fish are fish-shaped cast iron ingots used to provide dietary supplementation of iron to individuals affected by iron-deficiency anaemia. The ingots are placed in a pot of boiling water to leach elemental iron into the water and food. They were developed in 2008 by Canadian health workers in Cambodia, and in 2012 a company, The Lucky Iron Fish Project, was formed to develop the iron fish on a larger scale, promote them among rural areas, and distribute them to non-governmental organization partners.
Narayana Health – Low-cost hospitals with a heart
Narayana operates a dual business model, one funding the other. Whilst knowledge and equipment are not compromised, the growth in medical tourism subsidises low-cost heart surgery for the poor.
NHS School for Change Agents – Creating the boldest and most innovative new ideas in health and care
The Horizons Group is a small team within the UK's National Health Service (NHS) that uses radical thinking to explore change and transformation in health and care. It aims to support colleagues in health and care to think differently about how effective change practice can lead to better outcomes for patients.
Novo Nordisk – Home of the world's top performing CEO
Novo Nordisk is a global healthcare company with more than 90 years of innovation and leadership in diabetes care. It's innovation is patient-centric, focused on what it can be best at, and delivered by one of the world's most sustainable companies.
One Medical – Healthcare reinvented, any service, when you need it
One Medical Group challenges the notion that delivering high-quality, accessible health care is either unachievable or prohibitively expensive. In fact, we’re working to prove that just the opposite is possible — a system where quality care is affordable and available to everyone. To bring this vision to life, we rely on people-centered design, smart application of technology, and a team of talented primary care providers who have the time and tools to make the right decisions. The integration of these elements allows us to offer a seamless experience that not only saves our patients time and money but also leads to better health outcomes and happier lives.
Organovo – 3D printing of body parts to order
Organavo is embracing the latest technologies to transform surgery, from the 3D bio-printing of muscle tissues to complete organs for transplant, saving lives and raising huge ethical issues too.
Parkrun – The running movement that spread across the world
Parkrun is a beautifully simple concept: turn up every Saturday and run 5km, or if you’re a junior: 2km every Sunday. Over a million people, every week. In Australia, in Russia, in South Africa. Across the world. It doesn’t matter how fast you go. It doesn’t matter what you’re wearing. What matters is taking part. It's free, simple and for everyone.
Zipline – Drone delivery of vital medical supplies
Zipline's mission is to provide every human on Earth with instant access to vital medical supplies. In order to achieve this, the organisation has built the world's fastest and most reliable delivery drone, the world's largest autonomous logistics network.