7 Future Trends In Healthcare for 2020

Megatrend / Healthcare Reimagined

Health care is on its way to a transformation that never happened before. New technologies will allow real-time data creation and insightful analysis. Such technologies are driven by big data and mobile health. As in other industries, the healthcare system will have companies joining this field that traditionally wouldn’t. These trends will contribute to a shifting approach from the fundamental way of treating sickness to managing health, by diverse sets of players, focused on prevention, real-time care and healthy behaviors.

1. New reforms are needed to secure the development of healthcare

Health care has been dealing with three ambitions across the globe: taming escalating costs, improving quality and outcomes, and expanding access. We will see new delivery and payment models based on their value and outcomes. Transparency of information on the quality of the service is increasing – including pricing and other metrics – enabling patients to make better decisions.

In the US, health care’s share of GDP will grow from 17% in 2012 to 23% in 2023. In Europe, France will have 13% of adults with serious difficulties paying medical bills and UK with 6% of its population.  Moreover, health care costs in India will be a leading cause of poverty. Governments play an important role in solving these problems and we can expect a large number of reforms – which will not always be successful – to change the industry as we see it today.

2. Initiatives to promote behavioral changes for a healthier living

The chronic disease burden is expected to increase dramatically in the following years, thankfully in part to aging populations in the West, Japan and China – where the number of people over the age of 60 will double its number between 2010 to 2030. While most chronic diseases were largely present in more affluent countries, it will now be common for individuals across the globe.

This is mainly because the incomes are increasing, diets are changing and more sedentary lifestyles will be present in rapid-growth markets. Currently, 80% of chronic disease deaths occur in low- and mid-income countries, up from 40% in 1990. Such diseases account 75% of health care spending and will cause a loss of US$47 trillion to world GDB by 2030. Behavioral changes need to take place regarding alcohol and tobacco, as much as physical inactivity and poor diet.

3. Deeper understanding of our health status  

Mobile health technologies are empowering patients to access more transparent information and control over their health. There are over 20,000 health care mobile apps currently available which make use of smart sensors to monitor what is happening inside our bodies. The sensor market will grow at 40% CAGR between 2013 and 2018. Social media will be used to connect patients with providers of fitness apps to provide personalized services. By 2020, social media channels will generate over 25,000 petabytes of health care data, rising from 50 petabytes in 2015.

4. More predictive and preventive health care approaches

All the health data which people generate through their apps and doctor’s records will form a resourceful database of symptoms and behaviors. Many companies – from startups to large firms – are starting to integrate and analyze these streams of data to improve the efficiency of everything from drug R&D to care-coordination. Healthcare analytics market will exceed $US10 billion by 2017.

Big data will be used to recognize research failures more quickly, to design more streamlined clinical trials, and speed the acceptance and discovery of new medicines. Health care will offer more predictive and preventive care and this thanks to the ability to access large repositories of genetic, phenotypic and other kinds of data.

5. Advances in genetic and genomic research

Genetic and genomic information will bring new changes in the development of new therapies. Genes and gene products (such as proteins) are thought to be involved in certain disease mechanisms and could represent new targets for intervention. Gene expression profiling will give insights into how drug are reacting to different treatments. Combined, these techniques can reduce the number of new molecules that fail clinical trials and reduce development costs in development of new pharmaceutics.

6. Personalized medicine will gain popularity

Personalized medicine diagnostics market will double its CAGR between 2013 and 2018. Manufacturers are increasingly focused on personalized approaches as the price of personal genome sequencing has fallen significantly in the last years to under US$1,000 – a benchmark precursor for a mainstream adoption. All the genomic data created will be the founding resource of companies looking to innovate in this field.

7. New opportunities for players coming from different industries

Companies that didn’t have a direct relationship with health care will join the market and contribute to its innovation. Telecommunications firms will be looking to empower patients to manage their health. Technology companies will jump in to help in analyzing all the data that is created. Retailers and food manufacturers will experiment with healthier foods and could play a role in guiding healthy behaviors. These initiatives create new opportunities but also raise the specter of disruption for mature health care players.

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