Thursday, May 13, 2010

Twelve Global Megatrends That Will Revolutionize Healthcare (Part 1)

The Harvard Business Review has identified 12 healthcare megatrends that dramatically change how the world approaches healthcare and reacts to its largely unrecognized consequences. It paints a bleak picture of what will happen to healthcare costs in the future. Because of this, the role of healthcare providers will be diminished and the role of payers will be expanded involving treatment decisions.

These 12 trends are:

1)Innovation and demand soar in emerging economies. Our appetite for new treatments and cures will not diminish simply because the current healthcare system is under funded and overtaxed. We simply will not walk away from the promises of research and development.

2) Personalized medicine and technological advances. With the advent of genomics, treatments can be tailored to individuals. This is obviously a very expensive area but will certainly be pursued by those who can afford it.

3) Aging populations overwhelm the system. The baby boomer population bulge is now hitting their golden years. This combined with the medical advances which have lengthened their lives, is causing a significant increase in healthcare cost for the elderly. This wave will be with us for some years to come.

4) Rising costs. Even with all the technological advances we have made, healthcare costs continue to go up alarmingly. There is now a strong push on hospitals to represent high value and cost efficiency. But most of this will be too little, too late.

5) Global pandemics. H1N1 was real and hit some areas of the country hard. It now seems likely that this is just the beginning of other pandemics that will follow. Our globe hopping economy now makes any localized outbreak a world threat.

6) Environmental challenges. For years we have given lip service to the environment while ignoring the impact of our pollution. Now it seems that this approach is finally catching up with us and impacting us in numerous ways. The efforts to reverse this trend will be much more serious going forward.

More on the other 6 megatrends tomorrow.

Mark Brodeur

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