To construct the health ecosystem of the future, we must first listen to the main users of this system – people and healthcare professionals – and understand their expectations and experiences. Second, we must investigate how technology is already transforming lives in different health systems around the world and how it can empower society even further.
This is the Future Health Index, a comprehensive record of where we are on the road to better health outcomes achieved at lower cost and how we are progressing to meet future healthcare needs. Where is connectivity having most benefit and where does it need further investment to prevent or treat illness to ease the burden on healthcare systems? The Future Health Index provides a platform for discussing where governments and businesses should concentrate resources to enable a revolution in the way healthcare is being delivered and experienced.
This is the second annual in-depth study, the result of surveys and interviews with more than 33,000 healthcare professionals, insurers and members of the public across 19 countries and five continents.
Empowerment is one of the Index’s key themes. Professionals and people agree that digital technology can and must provide people with more control to manage their own health and health providers with tools to improve care delivery. Integration of health systems allowing people and doctors to work closer together for continuous care between hospital and home is key. This is especially true as populations live longer and lifestyle-related diseases are on the rise, while healthcare-related cost increases create a compelling need for systemic efficiencies.
The Future Health Index also points to concerning discrepancies as to how swiftly such a consumer-centric transformation is being made. Siloes persist.
Better incentives and more powerful partnerships need to be put in place. A more robust measurement framework must be engineered. And more training and awareness programs need to be introduced for healthcare professionals and the general population to fully embrace and engage with an always-on digital health environment.
Looking to this future, the report also explores innovative projects and partnerships. These examples span the fields of telehealth, remote monitoring and digital workflows, where exciting new ground is being broken.
Alongside these case studies, the Future Health Index explores how people’s perceptions match the realities of healthcare. If we are to reshape the future, it is vital to address gaps between what exists and what is desired. And to better understand how to deliver the right information and tools, in the right time and place, to maximize impact in health experiences and outcomes.
Creating a healthcare system fit for the 21st century is an undeniably complicated process and we hope that the 2017 Future Health Index research provides inspiring insights on our common journey. It is a report that both increases our level of understanding about where society is and points to better, more sustainable solutions that will ultimately yield better health and well-being for all.
Chief Medical Officer, Philips
Principal and Policy Lead at HealthEnabled and Executive Vice President at the Personal Connected Health Alliance, HIMSS