Healthy futures

Expect the healthcare industry to undergo dramatic change in the next ten years as pressures grow stronger to cope with demographic, consumer and technological change. And expect too much disruption of existing healthcare models from incumbents and new upstarts that promise a far healthier future for most people going forward.
What is changing?


  • Individuals aged 55 or older will account for 20% of world population (or 1.6 billion out of 8 billion) in 2025 increasing healthcare pressures.
  • Demographics are expected to account for over one-third of the projected annual growth in health care spending and utilization for about one quarter.


  • Public expenditures on pensions and health care are generally projected to increase as a share of gross domestic product (GDP).
  • The growth of new price and quality transparency services will placepressure on drug manufacturers as stakeholders gain the power to compare different products’ values.
  • Disruptive forces will begin to attack payor business models.
  • Cancer rates will surge 57 percent in next 20 years.
  • Communication costs will be under pressure and so providers will need to spend less on advertising and rely on PR thorough social media instead.
  • Antibiotic-resistant pathogens could be widespread by 2045.
  • Alzheimer’s is a ticking health time-bomb.


  • Increasingly assertive middle classes will demand improvements in infrastructure, public services, health care and education.
  • There will be more healthcare at places like Wal-Mart.
  • The dialogue on health care expenditures will more consciously and effectively involve the public.
  • Patients are morphing into healthcare consumers and as such expect care to feel and act like other retail channels they patronize.
  • Basic telemedicine applications/robots will serve a significant portion of healthcare needs for rural and poor populations by 2025.

Health monitoring

  • Ocular wearables will be able to automatically analyze the nutritional content of food from a picture and then correlate that to weight gain measured by Internet-connected scales.
  • Smart homes will be connected to the healthcare providers for monitoring blood sugar, heart rates and emergency alerts.
  • Wearable devices that track health and activity will become more widespread. Things such as the Fitbit will evolve to allow passive monitoring of blood sugar, caloric intake, etc.
  • Electronic tattoos containing tiny circuits could be the future of healthcare monitoring.
  • Current technological advances and increased acceptance of tracking and monitoring systems will soon be enabling more personalized and patient-driven health care.
  • Big data solutions will provide the mechanism needed to generate more meaningful knowledge that can positively impact patient outcomes.
  • Big data will drive the new disciplines of population health management and analytics.
  • Tools like Watson could enhance the abilities of professionals at every level.
  • Technology-related benefits in health care could range from $84 billion to $188 billion by 2025-and the broader social and economic impact of improved health outcomes will be far greater.
  • Surveillance of individuals and goods will be pervasive to ensure national security and health.

Health professionals

  • Tele-surgeons will become a staple of healthcare.
  • Greater numbers of health professionals will be involved in projects with the Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices sector.
  • Primary care providers and the health systems of which they are a part will work within their communities to identify and address social and environmental factors that hinder individual and population health.
  • The efforts by primary care providers and their success in affecting the community environment and social determinants of health will be routinely measured.


  • Cyborg technology could end human disability by 2064.


  • Both consumers and governments are expected to take action to alter consumption lifestyles and introduce new regulations.
  • A two-year-old of the future whose health is tracked in detail will have more medical data in the cloud than any adult alive today.

Healthcare management

  • Success will require inside knowledge of the complexities of the fragmented healthcare system, technological prowess and strong ties to consumers.
  • Efforts to improve the traditionally weak productivity performance of the large and growing government and healthcare sectors around the world will be particularly important.
  • Medical technology companies are responding to the need to makehealth care costs sustainable and to realign incentives
  • Doctors will be “prescribing” health apps.
  • Health care will need to learn from other data-driven revolutions.
  • Government intervention will become more pervasive as the cost of obesity-related health problems takes its toll on public funds and healthcare providers.
  • Vested interests such as a food industry aiming for less stringent labelling requirements could overpower public health advocates’ claims.
  • The last hospital as we know it today may be commissioned in 2025.


  • Health biosensors will be integrated into clothing, shoes and accessories such as smart socks, prescription glasses and smart workout gear.
  • A unified database of health records could provide a goldmine of data for analysis and help to deliver new treatments.
  • Bioengineering could revolutionize human health-imagine a cure to cancer and a flood of new vaccines.


  • The most rapidly growing occupational category over the next ten years will be healthcare support occupations (nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants) and food preparation and serving workers.

Learn more
To find the sources and more resources on Shaping Tomorrow about the future of growth some of which were used in this Trend Alert. View Health report.

Also, click here to find out how Shaping Tomorrow can help your organization rapidly assess and respond to these and other key issues affecting your business.


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