Megatrends in Global Health Care

Monday, July 15, 2013

Powerful trends are at work — all around the world — forcing changes in how health care will be conceived and delivered in the decades ahead. The editors of HBR have compiled a list of 12 megatrends that will dramatically change how we must think about the issue and some of the largely unrecognized consequences.

Megatrend 1: Innovation and demand soar in emerging economies

Spending on health care in countries such as China and India will continue to rise in line with their economic growth, and they will become big markets for health care companies. Serving them will require innovations in technologies and delivery and business models — some of which will be adopted by developed countries. Demand for vaccines and treatments for traditionally “Western” diseases will soar in these countries.

Megatrend 2: Personalized medicine and technological advances

With the cost of decoding an individual’s genome expected to fall in the next two to three years to $1000 from its current price range of $10,000 to $25,000, the market for genome decoding in developed countries will explode. This will lead to a greater understanding of disease and the development of new therapies but will raise complex privacy and cost-benefit issues.

Megatrend 3: Aging populations overwhelm the system

Aging populations will lead to increases in the number of people suffering from chronic, expensive-to-treat diseases and disabilities, straining health-care systems. Polarizing issues will result: will there be shortages of health care workers to cope with demand? What’s the cost-benefit analysis of keeping aging people with deteriorating quality of life alive? And who gets to decide?

Megatrend 4: Rising costs

You think costs are bad now… Aging populations and technological advances will cause health care costs throughout the world to continue to rise and will have a widespread impact on health care spending, design of national systems, and delivery.

Source: Harvard Business Review (link opens in a new window)

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