The science fiction view of the future of healthcare. These exercises are always useful in testing future directions. The biggest fallacy, in my mind, is to view healthcare through a consumer lens; choosing hospitals and providers, even where possible financially, requires a higher level of expertise than other ‘shopping’ activities. While greater transparency and better outcome indicators will help move towards that direction, the complexity of many diseases, the ongoing impact of socioeconomic factors on health and healthcare, and the potential cost implications of extreme personalization of health care, make this vision unlikely. But a good thought experiment, and given it comes from McKinsey, likely will have some influence in future thinking. Quote:
Governments have reformed their health care services to work with these new organizations [global knowledge brokers] using learnings from their past contributions to risk factors and poor healthcare delivery. OECD countries still struggle to fund equal access to all the new possible interventions for everyone, but citizens and health coaches are active shoppers for the most effective interventions, and are able to identify the right care and right provider based on high-quality data.
The age of precision medicine is rich in data, information and creativity. It is an age of “my health” customized to me – an age of better health and longer life for at least the richest two-thirds of the world’s population.
And another piece from the same series, capturing a comparable vision but without the consumer spin, in the form of a top 10 list:
- Your smartphone will be a more useful medical instrument to the doctor than a stethoscope or an otoscope; it will be used for SMS consults, remote diagnostics and access information, among other things.
- Distance learning and consults as well as telemedicine will be routine.
- Doctors and nurses will have jobs that are very different than today; new types of health workers will emerge, like health coaches and technology-empowered paramedical professionals.
- One’s health status will be monitored and tracked in real time through the use of sensors in the body, on pills, in devices and in medical transport vehicles like ambulances.
- Your personal health data will explode and be more accessible and portable; electronic health records, genomic profiles, behaviours and consumption patterns will allow better prediction of disease and tailoring of prevention and treatment.
- Preserving wellness and preventing the preventable will displace treatment of disease in the priorities of providers and payers.
- Regenerating and replacing damaged body parts will become a reality through the use of regenerative medicine, pluripotent stem cells, gene therapy and advanced prosthetics.
- Best practices developed by leading institutions will be globalized – a “Bloomberg for health” will bring transparency of best outcomes to the practice of medicine.
- Health delivery will occur in venues that are even more polarized than today. Much preventive and primary care will occur in homes and in communities. Centres of excellence in tertiary care will exist on the other end of the spectrum while secondary care centres become less critical.
- Health technologies will be more hybrid in nature, where new products are developed with combined diagnostic, drug, biologic, ICT and medical device attributes.