The building blocks of our future are numerous, and they are intersecting in ways that drive rapid shifts. I Visualized this phenomenon a while back, trying to depict the complexity of our world and the challenges it represents. It was Futurist Gerd Leonhard that gave me the idea. As someone who used my Anchor Visual in keynotes, he reflected on how impactful it might be to demonstrate the convergence that was occurring across the visual.
There’s been a lot of talk lately about the impact of Artificial Intelligence on Healthcare. An aging population is likely to place even more stress on a costly and ineffective healthcare system. There are other new innovations that are likely to improve healthcare efficiency and offer new ways to address global healthcare challenges. One such innovation is described in this Recent Article authored by science editor Jackson Ryan.
Google’s head of engineering, innovator and futurist Ray Kurzweil often discusses the concept of longevity escape velocity; or the point at which science can extend your life for more than a year for every year that you are alive. Kurzweil believes we are much closer than you might think. In fact, he believes we are just another 10 to 12 years away from the point that the general public will hit this longevity escape velocity.
The path to breakthrough innovation is usually paved by compelling reasons to address challenges. China’s flourishing economy and continuous progress of medical reform has driven rapid expansion in their healthcare system and significant service improvements. There are over one million medical institutions in China and insurance covers more than 95% of the Chinese population. Average life expectancy has reached 76.4 years – higher than in some high-income countries. As with other countries however, population aging has put enormous pressure on their healthcare system – a phenomenon likely to play out everywhere as baby boomers retire. New innovations are likely to improve healthcare efficiency and offer new ways to address these global healthcare challenges.
One of the paradigm shifts on the future scenarios curve is healthy life extension. When I mention to an audience that the first person to live to 200 has already been born – it gets quite the reaction. Extending our healthy lives has many implications to very long held beliefs. These challenges to our belief systems are the reason I believe humanity is heading towards another Tipping Point – that moment in time where intuitions and beliefs built over long periods experience a considerable shift. It is the reason I titled my presentation “A Journey through the Looking Glass”.
Through the looking glass is a metaphorical expression. It means: on the strange side, in the twilight zone, in a strange parallel world. It comes from the idea of Lewis Carol’s novel: “Through the Looking–Glass“, and the strange and mysterious world Alice finds when she steps through a mirror. I firmly believe we are stepping through the looking glass.
Healthy life extension is a great example of a scenario on the curve upending long standing institutions. As visualized below, multiple building blocks converge to deliver this scenario.
At the Health Summit in D.C. last week, I used this emerging future visual to describe the combination of building blocks that enable our healthy life extension – one of many emerging future scenarios. This two minute video captures that portion of our panel discussion.
One of the key issues that emerged during our panel dialog was the acceleration of aging and death associated with isolation and loneliness. Could robotic companions solve this problem? Do these advances – many that feel like science fiction – combine to solve the challenges that likely emerge as we live longer? Can Sophia be a robotic companion?
I had the pleasure of participating in the Milken Institute Health Summit earlier this week. A truly inspiring two days at one of the best run conferences I’ve attended. Great discussions with Pepsi CEO Indra Nooyi, Senators Corey Booker and Ben Sasse, and World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim. The details and a video of the panel discussion I participated in are included below.
One of the most important public health findings in the last two decades is that medical care is far from the only factor in how long people live and the quality of their health. A key step to improving health outcomes for older adults–and reducing the costs to the health-care system–is to better integrate health-care and supportive services with housing and transportation at local levels. This session explores effective methods and solutions that can drive change and result in healthier aging on a vast scale. How can we encourage more communities across the country to make the needs of their older residents a priority as they plan for the future? How do we improve the critical connections between housing, health care, technology, transportation, and urban planning?
MODERATOR: Anand Parekh, Chief Medical Advisor, Bipartisan Policy Center
Catherine Anderson, Senior Vice President, Policy and Strategy, United Healthcare Community and State
Frank Diana, Principal, Tata Consultancy Services
Omar Nagji, Lead, Health Partnerships, Lyft
Allison Silberberg, Mayor, Alexandria, Virginia
Pattie Dale Tye, Segment Vice President, Bold Goal, Humana
View the full panel discussion Here.
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:
In my continued look at disruptive scenarios, the focus shifts to Connected Health. In a recent White Paper, the term is used as an umbrella description that covers digital health, eHealth, mHealth, telecare, telehealth, and telemedicine. Analyst firm IDC defines it as “a broad spectrum of technologies that use telecommunications to facilitate the exchange of health information and delivery of care across a geographic distance as well as manage chronic conditions and promote health and wellness.”
There are several drivers that make this both a viable and desperately needed scenario. According to the IBM Institute for Business Value, inefficiency in the Healthcare ecosystem wastes over 2 trillion USD per year. According to the popular Internet Trends Study produced by Mary Meeker each year, healthcare costs have reached 17% of the U.S. GDP and 27% of health spending is wasted. The same study found that over 25% of family income is likely to go to health spending in 2015, and 50% of bankruptcies are driven by health costs.
The last two posts focused on disruptive scenarios driven by the future introduction of autonomous vehicles. However, the context for viewing disruptive potential must be broad – not just one possible scenario. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the Healthcare industry with a broader lens. The authors (Chunka Mui and Paul Carroll) of The New Killer Apps do a masterful job of doing just that. They make a rather bold statement in a chapter dedicated to the Healthcare industry – specifically:
“Without a course correction, hospitals will lose their central place in medicine and many will disappear.”
Strong maybe, but not hype. The risk is real and not limited to Healthcare. The visual below is a great representation of the law of disruption. The progression of technology is riding an exponential curve. With this acceleration comes a progression of disruption where incremental business change can no longer keep pace. Disruption and the need for transformative actions occur when this scenario takes hold, and the enterprise has not taken steps to respond. A failure to respond in this fast paced, change oriented world is likely catastrophic, but the opening for killer apps depicted in the visual presents both risk and tremendous market opportunity.
The Law of Disruption (source: Unleashing the Killer App)