Envisioning the Future of Health Care

Envisioning the Future of Health Care

At the end of each New Year, it seems everyone has a list of top trends, as Dr. Meskó did in The Most Exciting Medical Technologies of 2017.

MORE PREDICTIONS: I too have made predictions (http://www.mhealthtalk.com/101-minitrends-in-health-care/) and often point to the hidden opportunities that lurk at the intersections of MiniTrends. Most futurists miss those if they just extrapolate obvious trends without factoring in the many market accelerators and obstacles that determine how quickly a preferred version of the future appears.

FALSE PREDICTIONS: Myopia causes even the most qualified people to make false predictions, either saying that something WON’T happen (http://www.mhealthtalk.com/who-should-we-believe-about-longevity/) or by OVER-HYPING it (http://www.mhealthtalk.com/elusive-smart-home/).

Special Interests and Health CareSPECIAL INTERESTS: The biggest obstacle, or potential driver, of meaningful healthcare reform is the political climate and the corrupting influence of special interest lobbying. I worry about big money in politics, especially from the medical industrial complex that profits so perversely from illness and injury. It seems that they are more interested in treating symptoms than preventing problems in the first place. While it’s technically possible to dramatically improve longevity and healthcare outcomes, cutting our $3+ trillion/year costs in half to match what other advanced nations pay would mean $1.5 trillion LESS REVENUE, so industry resistance is immense. (http://www.mhealthtalk.com/chipping-away-at-healthcare-special-interests-yet/)

POLITICS: Given the Republican Congress and Trump’s pro-business stance on things, I see almost NO CHANCE of costs coming down any time soon, even as I see great promise in the exponentially accelerating pace of tech innovation (http://www.mhealthtalk.com/moores-law-and-the-future-of-healthcare/). Eventually, enabled by political reform that I hope comes sooner rather than later, disruptive business models will cause a bloodbath in healthcare. That eventual certainty must worry those at the top of the healthcare mountain who know what will happen if they don’t adapt. History tells them that 429 of the original Fortune 500 companies [1955] are no longer in business today.

INCENTIVES: The future of healthcare all comes down to getting the INCENTIVES right (http://www.mhealthtalk.com/get-the-health-incentives-right/), as I wrote four years ago when proposing a hybrid, public/private model of health care. The goal then was to exploit the different incentives of private sector organizations that measure success in business terms such as profit, ROI, and payback period, contrasted with that of the public sector, which measures success quite differently and over longer time periods.

RESEARCH: As companies develop plans for the coming new year, they often turn to futurists and buy market research reports. Since I’ve sat on both sides of buying and writing these expensive reports, I wrote a short article giving advice of what to look for in them. (http://www.mhealthtalk.com/evaluating-market-research/)

Focus more on DELIVERY & PREVENTION than PAYMENT

In the video below, Cleveland Clinic CEO Toby Cosgrove shares his advice to President Trump on how to lower healthcare costs for all consumers. I certainly agree that the primary emphasis should be on wellness & prevention programs, like for smoking & obesity, along with efficiency improvements to our delivery system. It’s refreshing to hear this from a hospital CEO since so many in the healthcare industry are working to protect profits.

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