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The future of global healthcare

2 January 2018

The healthcare sector has undergone remarkable change over the past few years, as new technologies and new therapies have delivered an enormous positive impact on the quality of patient care. New challenges have emerged, and new models of care been designed to cope with global lifestyle and cultural changes. So in this analysis we take a look into the future, extrapolating the evolution of the past decade to predict the major changes that will likely come to pass over the next five years.

Proactive, preventive and predictive medicine

Advances in preventive medicine are already benefiting millions of people around the world, with the use of statins perhaps the most high-profile example of how a low to moderate dose of a drug can help manage the health of patients identified as high risk. Yet advances in genetics are likely to take us from purely preventive to predictive therapies. Genetic profiling at individual level, combined with analysis of medical history, will enable accurate assessment of risks for a diverse range of diseases, with tailored interventions and personalised vaccines designed to manage and mitigate specific conditions.

A continually disrupted marketplace

To say that the healthcare sector is evolving would be a huge understatement, yet the pace of change is likely only to accelerate further, with the industry set be disrupted by a growing number of new entrants who bring with them established skills in emerging areas of medical science. These will be the engineering companies, the tech brands, the data firms and CRM businesses who can leverage their existing assets and bring them to bear in the evolving field of medical science and healthcare provision. New partnerships will bloom, new collaborations will succeed, and innovative new models of care will continue to disrupt the sector in a very positive way.

Smart healthcare

Digital technology is playing an increasingly important role in healthcare provision, and the next generation of wearable technology seems likely to take this to a new level. The tech is already here, and many people use wearable devices in a health and fitness capacity - people with smartphone apps that can monitor everything from heart rate to sleeping patterns. So the obvious next step is to collate this data and make it accessible via a digital platform that can be accessed and analysed by healthcare professionals anywhere in the world – enabling personalized patient alerts to highlight high-risk indicators.

The challenge for firms in the healthcare sector

As big as the challenges facing the industry may be, the opportunities for organisations operating in or around the healthcare sector are enormous, and the potential gains for patients are just as big. But to deliver on the potential, firms will require a new range of skills – they’ll need people with diverse skill-sets in medical sciences, data analytics, technology and engineering. So organisations must review how they structure themselves, how they design role requirements, how they leverage new technologies, and how they navigate evolving regulatory requirements. Get it right and the rewards will be limitless.

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