Deloitte UK's Centre for Health Solutions has recently released ten provocative statements predicting the world of 2020 in a new report, Healthcare and Life Sciences Predictions 2020: A bold future? This report draws on the observations of trends, events and small but bold steps that - if accelerated through to the year 2020 and beyond - paint a picture of a world that is very different from today.
In 2020, Deloitte predicts that individuals will become better informed about their genetic profile, the diseases they have and might have, and the availability of healthcare. The 'quantified self' will have embraced prevention and is devoting time, energy and money to staying healthy. Patients will become true consumers: they understand they have options and use information and data about themselves and providers to get the best treatment at a cost, time, and of course, place, convenient to them.
"In recent years, we have been witnessing a trend towards greater individual engagement in health matters," commented Dr Yong Chern Chet, Deloitte Southeast Asia's Healthcare Sector Lead. "Increasingly, patients are adopting physiological self-monitoring and health analytics technologies that support and empower them, as well as establish linkages between them and clinicians or influencers across the healthcare ecosystem."
Indeed, Deloitte believes that in 2020, with the ubiquity of digital communication, the home is where much of the medical care takes place. No longer confined to clinicians in the clinic or hospital, many doctor-patient contracts are virtual and deliver care to the patient in their home. However, the success of this delivery system will lie in the convergence of digital health and interaction, harnessing technology while providing trust-based, patient-centred care.
According to Dr Yong, "The preference for home health care is especially pronounced in the palliative healthcare segment. For many of these patients, dying at home with dignity and surrounded by family and close ones is a key priority. Globally, healthcare institutions have been increasing their focus on hospice and end-of-life care, for instance, by providing round-the-clock medical support and coaching primary caregivers on the healthcare needs of these patients."
In 2020, wearables will also shape the quality of life of the consumer, capturing and tracking how people live with and manage their condition. Consumers and providers alike can integrate information across multiple devices seamlessly to create a comprehensive view of the individual. With a widespread adoption of wearables beyond the keep-fit and health fanatics, and the affordability of specialist medical or bio-sensing wearables, the new clinician/patient partnership will be based on improved awareness, self management and prevention, replacing the paternalistic approach of the old.
"In long term, we can foresee that wearables are likely to transform from fitness tools of the healthy to valid, reliable accessories for even the sickest among us," Dr Yong said. "As networked technologies provide the promising potential to revolutionise health care delivery, we can expect the future health care hub to transition from hospital to the home to human (wearables)."
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