3 Big Changes Coming to Health Care

Exponential Medicine 2018 conference photo

What's New

Educators, innovators and organizations from across the biomedical and technology spectrum met recently at the Exponential Medicine 2018 conference to explore the future of health care. One discussion highlighted three ways the health care landscape could be vastly reshaped by 2040, including: the rising power of consumers in controlling their health data, the possible emergence of health information markets and the potential ability of pharmaceutical companies to produce highly personalized drug treatments for consumers.

What's Ahead

Doug Beaudoin, vice chairman, U.S. Life Sciences & Health Care leader at Deloitte, co-led the panel discussion that generated these forecasts. He says that as health care's digital transformation continues, consumers increasingly will be in the driver's seat in obtaining, managing and perhaps selling and marketing their personal health data.

"Radically interoperable data and artificial intelligence will empower consumers in ways that are difficult to imagine today," Beaudoin writes. Trust is critical in this equation and to build it, some organizations now let consumers own their data. This could lead to a paradigm shift in how consumers take more control of their health, he adds.

Beaudoin says that over the next two decades, all health care information likely will be accessible and — with appropriate permissions — broadly shared. Blockchain and other sophisticated security modalities could keep this information secure. Once this is achieved, he says, consumers could manage, sell and potentially market their health data. Innovators may well develop information markets that take personal health information and aggregate it to build virtual models for each consumer. The information then could be sold to companies that configure clinical trials, for example.

Enabled by personalized technologies and the ability to harness consumer data, pharmaceutical companies may be able to deliver tailored treatments to individuals.

What It Means for You

Provider organizations that have been building patient portals and letting patients manage their data in flexible, secure systems that meet the changing needs of consumers are creating stronger bonds of trust, Beaudoin says. Creating a seamless patient experience, including tools that are easily accessed by patients, can facilitate greater engagement. Likewise, transparency will only become more important as the consumerism era continues to unfold in health care. Regardless of which way technology advances go over the next two decades, meeting consumer expectations will be critical to building loyalty when it comes time to select where and by whom to be treated.