The New Health-Care Continuum

Connected health care is slowly becoming a reality, enabling medical professionals to share data with colleagues around the world, while patients can track their own wellbeing. This transformation promises to improve the lives of billions of people, create healthier societies, save costs, and boost economic growth.

DAVOS – The health-care industry has changed dramatically over the past few decades. Research and development have given us astonishing new treatments, powerful diagnostics, and a rapidly growing wealth of knowledge. Medical specializations and providers have proliferated. Governments and insurers have become powerful players. And the patient has become a vocal and proactive consumer, ready to search for better options, even if that means going abroad.

But, even as health care has become more effective, it has also become more complex and costly. Growing and aging populations are putting increased pressure on health-care systems that are already buckling under the burden of chronic diseases like cancer and diabetes. The Institute of Medicine estimates that in the United States alone, some $750 billion a year – about 30% of total health-care spending – is “wasted on unnecessary services, excessive administrative costs, fraud, and other problems.” If we are to ensure that health care remains affordable and widely available for future generations, we need to rethink radically how we provide and manage it.

Crucially, health care needs to become connected. It should become effortless for medical professionals to share relevant data with colleagues around the world. Medical devices and systems in hospitals should be able to combine multiple sources of information. A new generation of consumer technology, such as wearable health sensors, could automatically alert doctors to potential medical problems before they become acute episodes. Though such innovations must confront challenges like system interoperability and the need to protect patients’ privacy, the Internet’s integration into the travel and banking industries shows what is possible.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

Registration is quick and easy and requires only your email address. If you already have an account with us, please log in. Or subscribe now for unlimited access.

required

Log in

http://prosyn.org/pujaGd3;
  1. An employee works at a chemical fiber weaving company VCG/Getty Images

    China in the Lead?

    For four decades, China has achieved unprecedented economic growth under a centralized, authoritarian political system, far outpacing growth in the Western liberal democracies. So, is Chinese President Xi Jinping right to double down on authoritarianism, and is the “China model” truly a viable rival to Western-style democratic capitalism?

  2. The assembly line at Ford Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

    Whither the Multilateral Trading System?

    The global economy today is dominated by three major players – China, the EU, and the US – with roughly equal trading volumes and limited incentive to fight for the rules-based global trading system. With cooperation unlikely, the world should prepare itself for the erosion of the World Trade Organization.

  3. Donald Trump Saul Loeb/Getty Images

    The Globalization of Our Discontent

    Globalization, which was supposed to benefit developed and developing countries alike, is now reviled almost everywhere, as the political backlash in Europe and the US has shown. The challenge is to minimize the risk that the backlash will intensify, and that starts by understanding – and avoiding – past mistakes.

  4. A general view of the Corn Market in the City of Manchester Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

    A Better British Story

    Despite all of the doom and gloom over the United Kingdom's impending withdrawal from the European Union, key manufacturing indicators are at their highest levels in four years, and the mood for investment may be improving. While parts of the UK are certainly weakening economically, others may finally be overcoming longstanding challenges.

  5. UK supermarket Waring Abbott/Getty Images

    The UK’s Multilateral Trade Future

    With Brexit looming, the UK has no choice but to redesign its future trading relationships. As a major producer of sophisticated components, its long-term trade strategy should focus on gaining deep and unfettered access to integrated cross-border supply chains – and that means adopting a multilateral approach.

  6. The Year Ahead 2018

    The world’s leading thinkers and policymakers examine what’s come apart in the past year, and anticipate what will define the year ahead.

    Order now