Population Growth and Aging
Global population continues to expand, especially in developing countries. Meanwhile, about 10,000 “Baby Boomers” achieve retirement age in the US daily. Demand for care, in all forms, is rising substantially and will continue to rise for the foreseeable future. Markets will be challenged to find new ways of satisfying ever-increasing demand, particularly regarding treating chronic illnesses and degenerative diseases.
Rapid Technological Development
Rapidly expanding technological capability will continue to empower us in ways we can only imagine. Big data, artificial intelligence, the “internet of things” (including wearable technology) and virtual reality will all converge with profound effects on our shared knowledge, culture and individual lifestyles.
Connectedness is empowering. As the technology that enables global information sharing becomes ubiquitous, it puts ever-increasing decision-making power in the hands of healthcare consumers. 50 years ago, patient “connectedness” was limited and local. Healthcare consumers had to trust their physician or get a second opinion. Today, “connected” healthcare consumers have unprecedented access to a broad range of data and opinions on every conceivable health issue. Though the quality of information varies, healthcare consumers are empowered, at the very least, to know the standard of care and demand it. This trend will continue into the foreseeable future.
Trust as Currency
Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon.com, believes in “trust as currency.” The principle behind Amazon’s incredible growth is also the foundation of successful sharing economies, such as Uber and Airbnb. What does this have to do with healthcare? In a word, everything. Healthcare consumer trust in physicians, hospitals, payers, and the pharmaceutical industry is extremely low, and despite the best efforts of the industry, will require monumental time and effort to correct.