I am a firm believer that platform supported ecosystems will ultimately displace our current industry constructs. Given the uncertain nature of this transition, Future Thinking is a critical skill for any leader or organization to embrace. I have used the Driverless Car scenario as a way to describe future thinking and in this case, the progression towards a mobility ecosystem. I did a similar piece on Connected Health, which is likely the early manifestation of an emerging wellness ecosystem. This recent report on The Future Health Ecosystem provides a glimpse into the transition towards this wellness ecosystem. The author describes an expected shift of $1 trillion of the $3 trillion spent on healthcare to new players and business models; which could have devastating consequences for incumbents.
A Forbes article on this recent report looks at the major life transitions that the two largest generations in history are in the midst of – and the profound impact it will have on healthcare. Some of the very interesting findings – and clear drivers of a wellness ecosystem – are:
- Ten thousand Boomers a day are becoming Medicare-eligible
- As the largest generation in history, Millennials are starting families and paying attention to healthcare. Interestingly, the report finds Millennials representing the sickest group in the last century. They now represent the biggest piece of the workforce, heading towards 50% status by 2020 and 75% in 10 years. Given their size and position in the workforce, their impact on healthcare will exceed that of baby boomers
- Generations drive societal change. Boomer’s show a strong desire to age in place and die in a manner consistent with their values. This is beginning to have a massive ripple effect on the healthcare market. The report examines how traditional players such as Aetna, Humana and UnitedHealth are responding
- Millennials are also driving major change in health. An interesting note on their impact on Big Food and Big Soda: they had their worst quarters in recent history. This can be directly linked to changing patterns of Millennials. In studying what Millennials expect and value, they conclude that the traditional healthcare system is somewhat the polar opposite
- Convergence is at the heart of many transformative changes that lie ahead. In this case, the convergence of the generations with their varied preferences and demands combines with technology innovation to create a tectonic shift. Providers, once at the center of the health ecosystem are no longer at the center. The wellness and prevention shift places ultimate importance on value and outcomes. Since the vast majority of decisions that determine outcomes (diet, exercise, lifestyle, adhering to medication regimens, etc.) lie with the individual, they shift to the center of the emerging wellness ecosystem
- An aging society and a chronic disease epidemic expected to worsen will severely tax the current healthcare system
Some of the other drivers of a wellness ecosystem were identified in the Connected Health piece, as well as some possible incumbent responses. The Future Health Ecosystem report goes into considerable detail to describe the eventual wellness ecosystem and the likely transition that lies ahead. A very good read for future thinkers everywhere.