In our last two articles we looked at advances in technologies that are or will shape the future of healthcare in the next few decades. In this article we will endeavour to give some insight into what the key healthcare trends in next 50 years will be.
1. Fee paying healthcare is likely to increase
Insight: Greater demand on health systems created by ageing, obesity and disease; the rise of new healthcare markets and strategies (from emerging markets), and increasing technologies and medications to promote and prolong life, mean that fully funded state-based healthcare is unlikely to be sustainable by 2050.
Opinion: By 2050, countries like the UK will deliver a far greater proportion of their healthcare through the private sector. State-based provision is likely to become increasingly difficult because of the continued evolution of diverse healthcare demands and increasingly complex technical requirements of future treatments. Countries are likely to focus on facilitating access to affordable healthcare and promoting healthier lifestyles.
2. Global obesity rates are likely to increase over the next 30 years
Insight: Without coordinated intervention, global obesity rates are likely to increase by 2050. Basic projections suggest that if global obesity continues at its current level, an estimated 2.1 billion people in a global population of 7 billion in 2013 will be obese (contrasting with 857 million from a global population of 4.5 billion in 1980), then by 2050, around 30-60% of the global population will be obese.
Opinion: The levels of obesity in the global population will increase from 2014-2050. This trend will be driven by higher calorie diets as lower activity levels become the norm across the globe. However, the problem may become so significant, so quickly, that policy reforms, new technologies and medicines will prove necessary to mitigate this trend.
3. Countries are more likely to occupy the role of facilitating healthcare access
Insight: Over the next 30 years, the rising cost of healthcare and the increasing diversity of technologies and medicines to promote health and prolong life will mean state-based care strategies will be increasingly costly to maintain. This is likely to lead to many countries developing less costly models to promote and facilitate access to healthcare, guaranteeing a level of access to the least well off citizens alone, whilst enabling access (through part funded and tax incentive schemes) to the majority of their citizens.
Opinion: Governments will move to a role based on facilitating access to healthcare as opposed to being the direct provider.
4. The use of healthcare data will be increasingly important for healthcare treatments
Insight: Improvements in sensor technology, data collection and increasingly available open data will drive metric collection and increasingly sophisticated trials and health strategies. Such developments will change many perceptions on the use/protection of health information and patient confidentiality.
Opinion: The use of healthcare data will significantly increase up 2050. It is a certainty that data (once it has been approved for confidentiality and legal consideration) will be collected and used to improve the quality of human healthcare.
5. Policies to encourage healthy behaviour and lifestyles will become increasingly important
Insight: To reduce long-term health issues, government and company policies are increasingly likely to promote healthy behaviour and lifestyles to minimise long-term costs on industry and the state. Such strategies will be more cost effective to implement in the long-term and should help to prevent the causes of ill health rather than treating it.
Opinion: Policies to encourage healthy behaviour will increase over the next 30 years.
2050 Trends Health wearables Health Big Data