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By 2020, we had successfully transitioned the health care system from one which "fixed people after they were sick" to one of preventative, diagnostic medicine. Treating them for the conditions we know they were likely to develop.

Jim Carroll was the opening keynote speaker for the World Pharma Innovation Congress in London, England, He has been the keynote speaker for a huge range of major health care / health care organizations, including the prestigious World Congress on Healthcare Innovation & Technology • American Medical Group • UBM Canon Medical Devices & Technologies Conference • SSM Healthcare • Physician Hospitals of America • Professional Compounding Association of America • Chronic Disease Fund • International Society of Medical Publication Professionals • Linde Health Care Group Germany • McKesson • Stryker Technologies • Ottawa Heart Institute • American Association of Preferred Provider Organizations • Cigna Insurance • North Carolina Hospital Association • Pfizer • Minnesota HealthCare Association CEO Summit • St. Josephs Health Centres • Johnson & Johnson • Ernst & Young Annual Healthcare Client Conference • Mercy Health • Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina • American Academy of Ophthalmology • American Society for Health Care Risk Management • Association of Organ Procurement Organizations • Axcan Pharma Inc • Blue Cross/Blue Shield National Office • Health Care Industry Distributors Association • National Association of Children's Hospitals • Ontario Hospital Association • PharmaLink Congress • Blue Cross/Blue Shield Florida • Roche Diagnostics • Trillium Health Centre • VHA Georgia • Waters Corporation • MDS Nordion • Providence Health Plans • Harvard Pilgrim Health Care • Canadian Medical Association • Glaxo Wellcome • North Carolina Medical Managers Group • Roche Diagnostics • Essilor Eyecare • Alberta Senior Citizen’s Housing Association

Here’s a video clip from a recent keynote I did in Houston for a health care group.

It’s pretty self-explanatory, but helps to put into perspective how one aspect of the the future of healthcare is going to unfold, in a bit of a unique way. But it also raises the point as to how trends today are accelerating.

I must say, my presentation and day spent at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center was one of the most exciting experiences in my professional career. And it was all the better with the post event I received from NASA: “”On behalf of the entire Innovative Technology Partnerships Office, thank you for your engaging and thought-provoking presentation at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. From the feedback we have received, the event was a great success. Thank you for sharing your insight and expertise with us!”"


In September, I was the closing keynote speaker for the American Medical Group Association 2013 Institute for Quality Leadership annual conference in Phoenix. Subsequent to my keynote, I was interviewed and published in the prestigious American Healthcare and Drug Benefits peer-reviewed journal. The article follows below.

At the American Medical Group Association 2013 Institute for Quality Leadership annual conference, a session focused on transforming the US healthcare system was presented by Jim Carroll, author of Ready, Set, Done: How to Innovate When Faster is the New Fast,1 who discussed the ways in which the unprecedented technological changes in medicine can transform the system in a positive way, in a very short time.

“I know you are sick of the Affordable Care Act. But the future of medicine has nothing to do with government—it’s got everything to do with science, demographics, new forms of technological applications, such as genomics, new forms of equipment, and other innovations”…said Jim Carroll.

In a brief discussion after the meeting, Mr Carroll offered some food for thought for those involved in the “business” of medicine. He explained that he tells healthcare experts all across the country, “I know you are sick of the Affordable Care Act. But the future of medicine has nothing to do with government—it’s got everything to do with science, demographics, new forms of technological applications, such as genomics, new forms of equipment, and other innovations.”

Mr Carroll suggested that “by the year 2020, we absolutely can harness these to turn the healthcare system from one in which we wait until patients are sick and then we fix them, to understanding what things are going to go wrong in advance in order to avoid those problems.”

The system that Mr Carroll says is well within reach will have characteristics such as being consumer-driven and retail-oriented for treatment that is not related to critical care, and encompassing many cost-saving technologies.

“One example is in the field of pharmacogenomics, involving pharmaceutical products targeted to particular genes for particular cancer treatments. The cost of sequencing machines has plummeted, and they could become low-cost items. Individuals could buy machines that tell them whether they have certain gene sequences that make them prone to cancer,” he said. Furthermore, “when this type of technology becomes ubiquitous and costs just pennies, it transforms everything in healthcare.”

Smartphone apps are also proliferating and becoming very inexpensive, and are increasingly being applied in medicine. More than 17,000 healthcare software apps are available for smartphones, according to Mr Carroll, and as many as 78% of consumers have expressed interest in such apps. For example, consumers are using medical apps to monitor their glucose levels and better understand their healthcare circumstances and options.

“The patient is changing; the consumer is changing. And we all need to align ourselves to the changes that are occurring.” He also pointed to the virtualization of healthcare, with hospitals extending into the community.

“In the near future, a lot of non–critical care patients will be able to remain in their homes instead of being admitted to the hospital, and doctors will be able to monitor their vital signs remotely, using real-time analytics and location-intelligence technologies,” Mr Carroll predicted. He says that because medical knowledge doubles every 6 years, the pace of understanding new medical information is increasing as a result of the power of technology.

“I tell people in the healthcare system, ‘Don’t fixate on the negatives but on the positives. Think about how it’s good for your patients and their patients to embrace these changes,’ ” said Mr Carroll. “Demographic changes mean healthcare administrators, providers, and patients are becoming more welcoming to technology-driven changes in the sector. And that provides huge opportunities for improvement through innovation.” The future of US medicine, according to Mr Carroll, is bright.

Drug Store News ran a 7 minute interview with me back in August. Here’s the audio: in a nutshell:

Pharmacists are likely to play an even greater role in patients’ health care than they do now, possibly branching into services like shots and checkups, Jim Carroll told DSN. Technology will play a greater role as well, as there is greater connectivity with home medical technology devices and the Internet that changes the relationship between patients, doctors and pharmacists. “I think we’re going to see this fascinatingly strange, very connected world appearing in every aspect of retail, and it’s all driven by mobile devices,” Carroll said.

Last week, I keynoted the Medical Design & Manufacturing Show in Chicago, with a focus on both the future of health care and manufacturing technology.


The Scanadu Scout is a crowdfunded “medical tricorder”, as envisaged in science fiction. The medical device industry will now find that science is becoming truer faster, requiring ever faster change as innovation speeds up!

The folks over at DesignNews and other publications picked up my talk; here’s an article they ran which covered some of my remarks.

The trend toward “bio-connectivity” is gaining momentum, and medical device manufacturers need to be ready to bring that connectivity to next-generation products, a futurist at the Medical Design & Manufacturing Show said this week.

“The number of in-person visits to hospitals is decreasing and the number of bio-connective, virtual visits is increasing,” Jim Carroll, futurist and author, told a gathering of engineers at the show.

Carroll challenged engineers and device manufacturers there to examine those trends and to be ready use them to innovate their products. He cited statistics showing that there are now 17,000 healthcare software apps available for smartphones, and noted that 78 percent of consumers have expressed interest in such apps. Moreover, he predicted that 500 million smartphone users will be employing health and wellness apps in the next few years. ”The patient is changing; the consumer is changing,” he noted. “And we need to align ourselves to the changes that are occurring.”

Today’s doctors are more likely to do patient consultations over Skype, Carroll said, adding that 40 percent of physicians are now willing to track patients via text messaging, email, and Facebook. He cited examples of such companies as Withings Inc., which makes a blood pressure monitor for use with iPhones and iPads, and MedCottage, which sells one bedroom “granny pods” that can be placed in the backyards of families caring for elderly patients. The cottage incorporates cameras and sensors, enabling patients to be monitored and managed from afar.

Carroll also pointed to a growing number of diabetes management technologies that enable patients to monitor themselves at home and share their data with physicians.

Some high-level healthcare executives have gone as far as to say that the need for dedicated central facilities is changing, Carroll said. “One CEO said that the concept of a hospital as a physical place is disappearing,” he told the audience of engineers. “Eventually, it’s going to go virtual.”

Carroll warned engineers not to discount such trends. He described a technical conference a few years ago where manufacturing executives laughed aloud at the prospect of anyone using 3D printers. Now, he said, engineers routinely shop for such systems at technical conferences. ”World class innovators look out at the future and see a trend, not a threat,” he said. “They see an opportunity.”

Last week, I was the keynote speaker for the Medical Device and Manufacturing event in Philadelphia. I’ll be doing two more in the fall — one in Chicago and the other in San Francisco.

I was featured on the main show floor — given there were a number of packaging and other manufacturing going on at the same in the cavernous space that is the Philadelphia Convention Center, we had a pretty varied attendance.

The live text polling results from my audience, after I asked them if they were ready for a "faster future." This is a great way to build an interactive keynote with an audience!

The live text polling results from my audience, after I asked them if they were ready for a “faster future.” This is a great way to build an interactive keynote with an audience!

But I concentrated my message on the rapid changes that are and will occur with the future of medical devices — particularly consumer-Internet-connected devices, the virtualization of the hospital, and what happens when Silicon Valley takes over the pace of medical device R&D.

The Medical Device & Diagnostic Industry publication picked up on my talk with this short article, in particular focusing on the text message poll I ran asking the audience if they felt they were ready for a “fast future.”

Are You Ready for a ‘Fast Future?’ A Snapshot of Audience Reaction at MD&M East

The future belongs to a company that can move fast and adapt quickly to changes.

In 2010, it took Apple 28 days to sell 1-million iPads.

In November 2012, when Apple launched the iPad Mini, the iconic technology company sold three-million fourth-generation iPads and iPad minis in three days.

Global futurist and trend-spotter Jim Carroll shared similar statistics with an audience gathered at the MD&M East Conference and Exposition on Wednesday all in an effort to stress one thing: The future belongs to a company that can move fast and adapt quickly to changes.

A poll at MD&M East gauged how ready audience members feel their companies are to compete in the “fast future.”

To solicit audience input in how ready they were in playing in this so-called fast future, he did a quick poll. Carroll used a texting, Twitter, and cloud-based service to show live results as people entered their reactions. Here’s a snapshot of the results.

It’s interesting that some people in the audience have seemed to already concede the future.

But Carroll reminded audiences that size doesn’t matter when it comes to future success. What matters is the ability to act quickly, make decisions during uncertain times, and remain relentlessly focused on the job at hand.

Carroll said that he has seen many company executives wait to make decisions because the economic recovery was not strong enough or because the uncertainty is too great and the risk too high.

Those companies are guilty of one cardinal sin—“aggressive indecision”—Carroll said, using a term he coined a few years ago.

And that sitting with folded hands awaiting a better time will make them obsolete in the fast future.

Back in April, I was the closing keynote speaker for the annual Delta Dental of Missouri FutureFocus 2013 event.

It’s an event put together for HR executives, benefits managers and other executives responsible for managing their corporate health plans.

Delta Dental has put together a great highlight reel which you can watch here. It’s kind of cool how they weaved my trends issues, and innovation challenges, throughout the video.

I’m on stage in Dallas, as the opening keynote speaker for the Chronic Disease Foundation annual partnership meeting, speaking to the massive transformation that is occurring in the world of healthcare now and into the future.

Everyone in a leadership position in the health care system worldwide knows that the challenges facing the system are substantial and immense. That’s why innovation has quickly come to be one of the top issues that senior healthcare executives and medical professionals are thinking about.

There is a realization that there is an urgent need to challenge the very philosophies upon which the system is built. The result is that many health care leaders are seeking insight into the major scientific, technological, consumer and social trends that will, by the year 2020, allow for some very dramatic change in the concept of health care delivery. Preventative concepts are part of this big transition.

And that’s why organizations such as the Physicians Hospitals of America Association, CIGNA, the American Association of Preferred Provider Organizations, Blue Cross Blue Shield and many more have had me in recently to open their annual conference or event. I’ve spoken at dozens of health care events for other such groups as the World Congress on Healthcare Innovation & Technology •  Linde Health Care Group Germany • MKesson IdeaShare • Stryker Technologies • Ottawa Heart Institute • North Carolina Hospital Association • Pfizer • Minnesota HealthCare Association CEO Summit .. and dozens more!

Learn more about this keynote topic, “Healthcare 2020: The Transformative Trends That Will REALLY Define Our Future” 

Every industry in the world today finds itself in the midst of dramatic change, as mobile smartphone technology comes to change business models, consumer behaviour, and entire professions.

No where is this more evident today than what is happening in the world of healthcare, wellness and fitness, as a flood of new apps and technologies emerge that will forever change this world.

Back in late September, I was the opening keynote speaker for the 2012 Chronic Disease Fund annual conference in Dallas, Texas. Here’s a video clip in which I’m talking about the significance of the change that is occurring … compelling to watch!

As for me? I just bought a FitBit this morning — it would be fascinating to see how much territory I cover during one single keynote!

Recently, I’ve had two absolutely fascinating session, each about 2-3 hours in length.

In one case, a major private equity firm engaged me to meet with their main advisory board In another case, I met with a group of very wealthy investors who were / are owners of major family held businesses, with valuations into the hundreds of millions or billions of dollars.

Over the years, I’ve taken on an increasing number of small, intimate events for investor groups that have involved me leading a wide ranging discussion of the investment opportunities I see emerging in the future.

In both cases, these small, intimate meetings (with 20-40 people) were built around a structure in which I would cover a wide variety of future trends where I saw significant opportunity in the future. We then had a wide ranging discussion around these opportunities and a very lively debate.

Both were pretty heavy duty groups, with current and ex-CEO’s, Congressmen, Senators, venture capitalists and angel investors, university professors and researchers. Without getting into a lot of detail, one of the events had me take on four specific issues. These are the key areas that I spoke about:

  • big data: what’s beyond the hype, and what’s real?
  • intellectual property – what’s next as a venture play
  • oil & gas & US energy self-sufficiency: what sideline opportunities are emerging
  • regulatory challenges: as the velocity of change runs up against regulation, who will emerge as unique winners?

In the other case, I defined future opportunities in the context of the vast, transformative trends that are upending industries, providing for massive business model innovation, and for a lot of competitive disruption:

  • pervasive connectivity: massive opportunity as every device is connected, and we have awareness as to its status, location and IP address
  • big, bold movers: the phrase I use for organizations who are in a transformative frame of mind in solving big problems in healthcare, energy and the environment
  • revenue reinventors: how to find the signs of organizations reinventing their revenue stream at a furious pace, which is fundamental to success in todays economy
  • health care reform: what’s really happening, and who’s really innovating far beyond the political bluster. Think bioconnectivity, virtuality, mobility, wireless.
  • the future energy: opportunities beyond shale which involve accelerating science. Cows!

These types of sessions are tremendously invigorating; I really enjoy them, and the feedback in both cases was fabulous.

So there’s another thing that a futurist does that you might have never thought we do.

I lost a dear friend and family member yesterday.

Kurt Steube — my father-in-law – affectionately known as “Opa,” lost a struggle  as the result of a broken hip, combined with complications from Alzheimer’s. 25 years ago, when I first met him, he welcomed me into his life. He took me in, always cared for me, we had wonderful conversations.

He was a deeply intelligent man. That’s the tragedy of Alzheimer’s — a disease which is looming as one of the biggest tragedies of our time. With this disease, it is all too easy to remember the person for the time that ” just was” — rather than for the time that was “before.”

Before the onset of the disease, “Opa” and I would have delightful conversations — around world politics, technology, business, society. He had a mind that was sharp, in tune, and that was very much engaged. And what was remarkable was that his career did not allow him to utilize his insight and intelligence as much as he could have. He had immigrated from Germany in the early 1950′s; as such, with limited English skills to start, he spent much of his working life doing honest, diligent work — but which involved manual labour. For over 30 years, he worked for General Motors. He was proud of who he was, what he had accomplished, and thrived in the love of his wife Susanne (“Oma”), his daughters Christa and Heidie, and his grandkids. But I always had a sense that he had hoped to do more with his life.

I do think he did quite enough, and take pride in having known him.

That is why Alzheimer’s is such a sad disease; the person who you know, gradually disappears and fades away, even though the person remains.

Ironically, the day that Opa died, was also the day that I was fortunate enough to be the opening keynote speaker, in Dallas, for the Chronic Disease Fund. I was on stage that morning, speaking to the challenges that society faces as a result of many challenging life conditions — but also to the opportunity that medical professionals, the health care system and so many others can achieve if we only think boldly about the future. I wasn’t aware at the time of Opa’s passing — my wife called me after I left the stage to let me know — and I worked to get home.

For anyone who has seen me on stage in the last two years, you will know that I have often talked about Opa, the challenge of Alzheimer’s and aging, and the necessity for big, bold, innovative thinking to help to deal with one of the biggest challenges of our time. I have a staggering number of statistics that outline what we face in terms of Alzheimer’s:

  • the number of patients with dementia / Alzheimer’s is set to double to 66 million by 2030 – and to 115 million by 2050!
  • that will require an estimated $604 billion a year in treatment — it’s set to triple by 2050!
  • that means spending here will go from 1% of global GDP today, to 3% of global GDP by 2050

Clearly, it is one of many significant challenges that society faces, and that the health care system must re-architect itself to deal with.

Which brings me to the Chronic Disease Fund. In Dallas yesterday, I met a group who is impassioned with purpose to help those dealing with chronic illness. Founded by Mike Banigan — a Chron’s patient — over 91% of it’s fundraising goes directly to providing much needed drugs to those in need. I was staggered by what this group accomplishes. In the midst of all the divisive, dishonest and political spin involving healthcare reform in the US, I found it a truly refreshing, rewarding and transformational experience to meet a group of people who truly care about the patient, are thinking in big, transformative ways, and are making a difference.

Let’s only hope that we will see similar levels of passion and purpose emerge to help individuals and family members who will be dealing with the tragedy that is Alzheimer’s.

God bless you, Opa!

I’m off to Dallas this morning. I’m honoured to be the opening keynote speaker for the 5th Annual Partnership Summit. A few other folks are there to offer up their opinion as well!

(Incidentally, my keynote has been moved back a half hour to start earlier — apparently the Secret Service need to kick me out earlier to do a security sweep for the special guest appearing later in the day!)

It’s a pretty significant event, and a pretty important organization. As noted on their Web site, “People with chronic diseases share a common experience – bad days and good days. Good days come from breakthrough medicines that are amazingly effective but often cost thousands of dollars a month – even with the best insurance. That’s where Good Days™ comes in.” The significant sums of money raised by the foundation go to assisting patients with the tremendous cost of care — prescription drugs and other funding — that is associated with their chronic condition.

I’ll open the topic with a keynote on the topic that has kept me extremely busy through the last year, with clients such as CIGNA, Stryker Technologies, the North Carolina Hospital Association, the American Association of Preferred Provider Organizations, Physician Hospitals of America, the Mercy Health Care Group — and quite a few more:

Healthcare 2020: The Transformative Trends That Will REALLY Define Our Future
By 2020, we will have successfully transitioned the system from one which “fixes people after they’re sick” to one of preventative, diagnostic genomic-based medicine that treats patients for the conditions we know they are likely to develop. In this seminar, Jim Carroll puts into perspective why innovation is no longer just a fashionable phrase —with the coming changes, innovation is the critical new leadership focus for executives in the health care sector.

Being selected to keynote so many conferences on this theme shows me that one very significant trend has long been underway in the US

  • while much of the political debate over health care reform still goes on, a good deal of f it has nothing to do with reality
  • major health care groups, professional associations, companies, insurers are well underway in pursuing the real, significant opportunities that exist for innovation in the health care sector
  • there are many groups that are working hard right now to get involved in the most significant change coming to health care in the last 100 years — a trend that clearly has the system go upside down
  • it’s being driven at a senior leadership level by people who understand that there are many opportunities to pursue right now — which is why “innovation is the critical new leadership focus for executives in the health care sector”

If you’d like to understand this in a little bit more depth, try out a few of the related posts below, or work your way through the health care section of my blog.

And if you are looking for someone who can open up the eyes of your clients, staff, Board of Directors or other to the transformative trends driving health care today, feel free to give me a call!

I keep advising my personal trainer that she needs to get an iPhone. She shrugs, noting that there is a queue in the family for the next mobile upgrade, and her 14 year old daughter might have more of a claim in the line than she does.

Hogwash! There is an absolute revolution going on involving the “consumerization of fitness and wellness” — and this super long blog post will put into perspective why. And maybe this will help to sort out some of her family politics over the ‘next phone.’ The fact is, the very nature of the future fitness opportunity is changing ….

Update: After I wrote this blog post, Adweek ran the article, “Nike+ Officially Turns Your Workout Into a Video Game” – you want to read it.

Here’s the main gist of this post — In May and June, I spoke at a tremendous number of corporate, association and private events; it was a busy couple of months, and hence the lack of regular postings to the blog.

Three of these were events related to the issue of corporate wellness programs.

It was the perfect timing for such a keynote; through the last year and I half, I’ve been following what I believe to be a fairly aggressive personal fitness regime, with the help of my personal trainer, as well as personally exploring the wealth of new fitness and wellness mobile applications that are flooding the market.

The entire premise of my keynote? At this moment in time, we are witnessing the perfect confluence of several major trends:

  • the first signs of the reality of the massive scope of the health care crisis (both disease, lifestyle and funding related) as baby boomers begin to flood the health care system with requirements for extra care
  • a renewed and significant focus on “preventative” health care concepts” ;
  • structural change aimed at wellness programs so that people work harder to avoid or reduce the impact of lifestyle disease;
  • and the rapid emergence of new technologies — many involving the smartphones that have become a ubiquitous part of our lifestyle – that can motivate consumers to do so much more with their personal fitness and wellness.

Why a keynote on wellness? Because companies are recognizing there is a big opportunity to be innovative with managing healthcare costs through a proactive approach that involves wellness. It’s a good example of the deep, transformative thinking that is occurring with many organizations in the healthcare system worldwide . Organizations are moving beyond the endless political debate, and are instead, putting in place practical, innovative programs that can help organizations manage healthcare costs, and employees can actively work at improving their overall health and fitness.

Let’s consider the trends which are all coming together.

1. It’s crisis time!

Throughout the western worldwide, the obesity, diabetes and lifestyle health care crisis is really making itself felt with massive demands being placed on the system. The future is stark ; if something is not done, we will continue to see:

  • a continued rapid increase in lifestyle disease, resulting in even more massive future demands on the system
  • a bigger demographic challenge – more boomers placing demand on the system, with fewer workers to support the massive uptick in spending that results
  • a resultant massive supply / demand imbalance
  • and an expectation gap likely to increase scope of challenge : a trend I wrote about in my “Trending in 2011: 10 Major Trends to Start Thinking About Now.” It’s worth a read — check the first big trend in the list.

Clearly, something needs to be done. Hence, a lot of innovative thinking!

2. A massive shift to preventative medical concepts

Given that the Western world has such a big problem, it’s also fascinating to note that there is a huge amount of innovation occurring in the health care system now – and it has absolutely nothing to do with the raging (and now seemingly pointless) political debate occurring in the US.

What is happening is this: we are in the midst of a long term trend in which “preventative medical care” will come to exceed what we spend on “reactive medical care.” Preventative care takes many forms, from genetic testing (to determine what conditions people are likely to develop in their lifetime) to wellness and other preventative programs. Simply put, let’s fix people before they are sick, rather than treating them after they’ve developed a condition.

We’ve got a heck of a long way to go with this trend: according to a PriceWaterhouseCoopers report, “a mere 3% of spending goes towards prevention of chronic disease among industrialized countries.”

But what is happening is an acceleration of the trends that take us to a world of preventative healthcare. Consider the trend line with genomic medicine:

  • it took $3 billion to sequence the first human genome
  • by 2009, that was down to $100,000
  • it’s now under $10,000
  • and it is estimated by the end of 2012, $1,000

Give it a few years, and you’ll be able to go out and buy a $5 genomic sequencing machine at Radio Shack! That might seem like a joke, and it is. But the significance of a cost curve such as this is that it accelerates a significant shift in spending.

It isn’t occurring with genomic medicine — its happening everywhere throughout the world of healthcare. Last year, when I keynoted one of the largest seniors care conferences in the US, I noted the same type of focus on preventative thinking was becoming routine:

  • “Identifying dementia early can cut the cost of care by nearly 30 percent … routine screening that identified patients with early signs of dementia helped cut average healthcare costs by nearly $2,000 per patient in the first year, often by eliminating money spent on unnecessary tests and treatments. Early diagnosis can cut Alzheimer’s costs, Reuters Health E-Line, July 2010

The health and wellness theme fits into this agenda as well, which have undergone very much a sea-change in the last, in terms of perception, importance and approach:

  • “In businesses across the nation, workplace wellness has morphed from a “nice-to-have” fringe benefit to a “must-have” cost-containment strategy.” 23 April 2012, GlobeNewswire
  • Employers determined to contain medical costs must focus on creating a culture that supports healthy behaviors. If they can do that, they can enhance not only their bottom lines but also transform the lives of their workers. 28 April 2012, Obesity, Fitness & Wellness Week
  • “In businesses across the nation, workplace wellness has morphed from a “nice-to-have” fringe benefit to a “must-have” cost-containment strategy.” 23 April 2012, GlobeNewswire
  • “64 percent of employers surveyed indicated that wellness initiatives are among the top three most effective tactics for controlling health care costs” 2012 Annual Plan Design Survey, National Business Group on Health

Studies show that for every $1 spent on a wellness program, medical expenses fall by at least $3.

Part 3: Time for some more aggressive action!

What is interesting is that in corporate organizations throughout the Western world, wellness programs are rapidly shifting : they’re going from a “nice-to-have” type of program, to a “we really need to see some results!” approach. Consider the trends; certainly many more organizations are putting such programs in place:

  • A recent study by Willis North America’s Human Capital Practice found about 60 percent of the companies surveyed have wellness programs, an increase of 13 percent from 2010. Companies encourage wellness, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 22 April 2012

But not only are more organizations adopting wellness programs: they are working to put in place structures, methodologies and measurement technologies that can help to ensure that employees are benefitting from such programs:

  • One of the fastest-growing categories of new insurance includes significant penalties for those who don’t participate or backslide on targets – penalties that may include deductible spikes or loss of health-savings accounts. Workers’ wellness can turn a profit Insurers offer incentives for health and penalize workers who can’t meet goals, The Denver Post , 25 December 2011
  • A national survey of large employers by the National Business Group on Health found that 80 percent plan to offer financial rewards for health in 2012, up from 54 percent this year. Workers’ wellness can turn a profit Insurers offer incentives for health and penalize workers who can’t meet goals, The Denver Post , 25 December 2011

And this is where tech comes along at the perfect time!

4. In comes technology – and the new consumerization of health care!

Technology is going to provide for more creative disruption in the world of healthcare than we’ve ever seen. Simply put, it changes everything.

  • “Imagine a far more extreme transformation, in which advances in IT, biology and engineering allow us to move much of health care out of hospitals, clinics and doctors offices, and into our everyday lives.” Our high-tech health care future, New York Times, 10 Nov 2011

The Withings Wi-FI Body Scale measures weight, BMI and fat mass, and transmits the info to a password protected site. I’ve got one and love it. They sell them at the Apple Store!

Cast your mind out 5 years or more, and we will see significant change in everything we do in the world of health care:

  • “…. you’ll be sitting in front of a big multitouch screen actually watching what’s going on in your body in a very intuitive, fun kind of animation. When you leave, the doctor will download prescriptions and treatments onto your cellphone – which not only remind you, but encourage you to follow the medicine’s or other lifestyle procedures. [You'll see] a periodic video message from the doctor to encourage you if you’re doing well or maybe to encourage you if you’re not. It’ll be continuous care rather than the episodic, periodic care that occurs today.” Better living with technology, The Boston Globe, 21 November 2011

Extend that type of thinking, and we are headed to a future in which we literally have a dashboard for the human body…..

And it is starting to happen now — with a flood of new mobile and other healthcare technologies that help consumers to take more of an active role in their level of wellness and fitness. Consider the current trends:

  • 78% of consumers are interested in mobile health wellness fitness solutions
  • medical fitness health care apps are 3rd fast growing category for iPhone and Android phones
  • the Apple App store now has 17,000 health care related apps, 60% of which are aimed at the consumer
  • sports, fitness and wellness apps will grow from 154 million downloads in 2010 to 908 million by 2016
  • the number of wearable wireless “gadgets” will grow from 8 million to 72 million over the same period

I’m using a number of mobile wellness and fitness apps — for example, MapMyWalk, which I use to track the pace and timing of the five mile — or more — walk that I do while at home or travelling. I’ve also got a Withings Wi-Fi Body Scale — which tracks weight, BMI and body-fat mass, transmitting those details to a personally-password protected Web site. Utilize such technology, and all of a sudden you’ve got the opportunity to be more involved in your own well being.

Or, as I commented in New York at the keynote the impact of consumer fitness, wellness and healthcare technologies is that  “...they increase how often individuals think about their health…”

And clearly, it’s a pretty big trend:

  •  “500 million mobile users, or about 30% of an estimated 1.4 billion smartphone subscribers worldwide, will be using health/fitness apps by 2015. Healthcare in your hands
International Herald Tribune, March 2011

The Withings Blood Pressure Monitor works with your iPhone. It’s an example of the start of the trend I call “bio-connectivity.”

It isn’t just consumers who are rapidly adopting such technology — so are doctors and other professionals throughout the healthcare system.

  • By the end of the year 90 percent of physicians will have smart phones. Health apps soon will get an incubator, The San Francisco Chronicle, 11 April 2011

We are only beginning to scratch the surface of the innovations that will occur here. I’ve been suggesting that one of the biggest trends to sweep the world of healthcare and medicine will be that of ‘bio-connectivity,’ a phrase I coined well over a decade ago. Consider this post which I wrote before keynoting the World Healthcare Innovation & Technology Congress in Washington.

Bio-connectivity provides huge opportunity for innovation in the space of healthcare. The same company – Withings — has brought out the Withings iPhone Blood Pressure Monitor — seen on the right. All of a sudden, someone working to manage their blood pressure doesn’t need to rely on pencils and paper to track their progress — it’s automatically captured through the smartphone which is becoming an integral, everyday part of their life.

Not only that, but they can transmit their blood pressure readings and charts to their doctor or other health care provider via email. This provides for the virtualization of healthcare ; no longer are hospital or doctor visits restricted to actual physical locations known as hospitals or doctors offices — instead, it becomes a part of the global Internet. If you think about what is happening here: there is a change in the centuries old relationship between doctor and patient!

Did you know that researchers have already figured out how to make an ultra-thin heart monitor that goes on like a tattoo? Talk about a trend that is going to drive a lot of change!

Link all of these trends together, and the simple fact is this: we are going to witness more change in the world of healthcare, wellness and fitness in the next five years, than we have seen in the previous one hundred years.

And if you follow that path down the road of wellness and fitness — the very nature of fitness is changing. Ten years out, most folks going to the gym will have a smartphone attached to their hip, and will be working with their trainer on a regimen that includes this type of personal fitness tracking.

Sure, it sounds odd, but ten years ago, we didn’t have Facebook, Twitter, Youtube or many other of today’s life changing technologies.

My personal trainer really needs to get an iPhone!

This article ran last week after I did a talk for one of the world’s leading heart research / hospital institutions, the University of Ottawa Heart Institute.

Health care is the most complex issue that our society faces in our time. We really need some big and bold and very innovative thinking to deal with the scope of the challenges.

Health care’s best bet: technology
Ottawa Citizen, May 16, 2012 

AT&T is developing clothing with built-in sensors that monitor blood pressure, perspiration rates and other health indicators. One smartphone app tracks every mouthful of food you eat. Another links to a device that monitors blood glucose levels in diabetic children as they sleep, and notifies parents through an alarm if they spike in the night.

As Jim Carroll would say, this is real stuff. This isn’t science fiction.

Carroll, a 53-year-old resident of Mississauga, is one of the world’s leading futurists. And as he told a room full of nurses at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute last week, technology is driving rapid changes in the way we treat the sick and care for our own health.

That’s a good thing, he said, given the health-care challenges we face. Chronic disease caused by poor lifestyles is driving massive future demands on the system. Society won’t be able to afford nursing home care for all the boomers who will need it. The number of people with Alzheimers and dementia is rising exponentially.

And because longevity is increasing — a baby girl born today can expect to live to 100, Carroll said — the elderly will need costly care for more years than in the past.

“Health care is the most complex issue that our society faces in our time,” said Carroll. “We really need some big and bold and very innovative thinking to deal with the scope of the challenges.”

Fortunately, there’s lots of that going on, it seems, largely driven by lightening-fast advances in technology. The cost of mapping the human genome has fallen from $3 million to $10,000 and is expected to fall to just $1,000 by year’s end.

“Five years out,” Carroll said, “we’ll be able to buy genomic sequencing machines for $5 at Circuit City. This is a staggering transformation.” That means increasingly, doctors will be able to shift from treating illnesses to preventing them, Carroll said.

Another key trend is “pervasive connectivity” — the notion that everything we own will be able to plug into everything else. In health care, that’s called bioconnectivity, Carroll said. And among other things, it can be used to monitor patients from afar.

One example is Medcottage, a 12-by-24-foot modular building that offers an alternative to institutional care for the sick or elderly in their family’s back yard. The unit provides round-the-clock medical monitoring while giving occupants some privacy and independence.

Ottawa’s heart institute already is using technology to monitor the health of about 150 elderly patients in their homes. Patients use the devices to record their blood pressure, heart rate and blood glucose levels, then plug them into their phones to download the information to the hospital.

The results have been impressive, said Heather Sherrard, the heart institute’s vice-president of clinical services. “The group that gets the home monitoring has anywhere between a 30 and 40 per cent reduction in the amount of times they have to come back to the hospital,” she said. Thanks to the remote devices, “we can see them every day and tweak them.”

The heart institute also uses automated phone calls to check up on patients who’ve had a heart attack. “You can’t financially afford to call everybody,” said Sherrard. “So the system does all the calling, it gives them a series of questions we know are based on evidence, and that allows us to just go ahead and deal with the 10 per cent who are the problem.”

One thing the hospital discovered is that about 40 per cent of patients were substituting Tylenol for their prescribed Aspirin, because they liked Tylenol more. But unlike Tylenol, Aspirin is an anticoagulant, which helps reduce the risk of another attack. “When you’ve had a heart attack, you cannot substitute Tylenol for Aspirin,” Sherrard said.

Canada still has a long way to go to catch up with the United States when it comes to innovative health-care thinking, Carroll said. He credited insurance companies with driving much of the innovation south of the border.

“I get insurance companies that are actively talking about rolling out wellness apps to employee groups,” he said. “It’s not going to happen in Canada, because they don’t control what we spend.”

That’s part of the debate we need to have in Canada, Carroll said. “We all love the Canadian system in terms of the structure and the fact that we don’t become bankrupt if we have a serious medical condition.

“But given the rapid rate of change and opportunity that is happening, we need to somehow figure out how to speed up innovation in the context of health care. Instead of just talking about wait times, we need to think really big.”


One of my recent talks featured me as the keynote speaker for Talent Strategies 2012 in New Orleans; the conference tagline was “Creating the Organization of the Future: Meeting Tomorrow’s Challenges Today.”

I’ll blog more on my talk later – I do an extensive number of talks on the future of workforce, skills issues, and organizational structure.

But here’s a quickly video clip which should get you thinking about the velocity of change with industries and skills — particularly, in this case, in  the world of healthcare!

Nice, neat, concise two page summary that I put together in 2006,that puts in perspective what’s really going to happen with health care in the next few years. Spend 20 seconds to read it, and you’ll get everything that is going on right now.

It’s a PDF – click it for the full file (2 pages!)

Share it around!

I often wonder if the discussion about health care in many parts of the Western world has come off the rails – with the result that many opportunities for real innovation are not being pursued.

That’s the focus of quite a number of keynotes I’ll be giving in the next few weeks, including for the American Association of Preferred Provider Organizations annual conference in Jacksonville, the 2012 National Pharmacy Forum in Tampa for the Healthcare Supply Chain Association, and a private leadership event for the Mercy healthcare group based in St. Louis.

One of my key messages is that it’s time for bold thinking, big actions, and new ideas in the world of healthcare — and that can only be accomplished if people change the conversation.

What’s the problem? I think that many in the system are stuck in sort of a groundhog day like existence — they get up every morning, and everyone around them keeps talking about the same old thing as the day before — in the US, healthcare reform. In Canada, the discussion is all about wait times. In other countries, the issue of the future of healthcare often swirls around a single issue.

The result is that real healthcare innovation is stifled, smothered, and never given a chance to flourish. Yet there is so much other opportunity if we link ourselves to the major trends that are going to unfold in the future at a furious, blinding velocity.

We need big thinking, because the health care cliff in the Western world is massive. In many countries,  we’ve got a ratio of workers  to retirees of 4 to 1. By 2030, that will decline to 2 to 1. Most of those workers support the health care expenditures of those who place the greatest demands on the health care system. In Canada it’s suggested that as a result, by 2030,  Old Age Security and health care is likely to suffer a $71.2 billion shortfall that will require a GST of 19% and a top tax rate of 71%. In the US, the numbers are even more mind-boggling.

The fact is, we need big, bold thinking, Grand ideas. Dramatic change. Champions with courage to challenge the status quo. The need is desperate.

That’s what I take a look at in my keynotes, by looking at where we will be in the world of health care by 2020. The changes are massive — which implies the opportunities for real innovation are unprecedented. Consider the trends:

  • Preventative: By 2020, if we do the right things, we will have successfully transitioned the system from one which “fixes people after they’re sick” to one of preventative, diagnostic genomic-based medicine. Treating patients for the conditions we know they are likely to develop, and re-architecting the system around that reality.
  • Virtual & Community:  A system which will provide for virtual care through bio-connectivity, and extension of the hospital into a community-care oriented structure. Wireless and mobility health apps that link consumer wellness monitoring to medical professionals.
  • Consumer driven: A consumer driven, retail oriented health care environment for non-critical care treatment that provides significant opportunities for cost reduction.
  • Real time:  Real time analytics and location-intelligence capabilities which provide for community-wide monitoring of emerging health care challenges. “Just-in-time” knowledge concepts which will help to deal with a profession in which the volume of knowledge doubles every six years.

That and much, much more. The fact is, we are going to witness more change in the world of health care in the next ten years than we have seen in the last 200.

That’s the message that has resonated with the global audiences that have been bringing me in to challenge them to think about the real opportunities for innovation in the world of health care. And through that, I’m discovering experts, politicians and people within the health care system who really are thinking big enough about the potential opportunities for real innovation within the system.

Think big. Do great things. Accomplish massive change. The need is dire, the urgency is fast.


I think when someone looks back 10 years from now, they’ll realize that really aggressive innovation in the global healthcare industry really began in 2012. That’s because the scope of the problem is so “BIG.”

The scope of the challenge everywhere – the focus of a keynote I undertook in  Munich in July. I opened a private event in for a major health care organization — and spoke to the stark reality of some of the trends we face. Consider the issue of wellness and lifestyle disease:

  • 1.6 billion adults are overweight or obese worldwide and over 50 per cent of adults in the US and Europe fit into this category.
  • according to Reuters, “the number of adults with diabetes worldwide has more than doubled since 1980 to 347 million, a far larger number than previously thought and one that suggests costs of treating the disease will also balloon.”

Here’s a clip from that talk in Munich.

The phrase is bit of a mouthful, isn’t it?

Get used to the concept. It’s part of an overall massive trend in which computational analytics come to play an increasingly more important role in helping us solve some of the big problems in society, in the fields of health care, energy, the environment and other industries. I wrote about this some time ago in a post, “Computational Analytics is the New Platstic.” It’s one of the next new billion dollar industries and it’s happening now.

Here’s a keynote from a recent keynote in which I’m talking about these “From a recent healthcare keynote, based on my Healthcare 2020″ keynote. The slides are running at the same time that I’m speaking – watch the screen as the data unfolds! Then cast your mind into the future….

I’m on stage in New Orleans – it’s 730am, and 4,500 people have showed up for my keynote on Healthcare 2020:

The session description used for the keynote:

Today’s Trends – Tomorrow’s Opportunities
Futurist Jim Carroll will give us a brief overview of the innovations affecting business and what they will mean to our economy and that of the world.  His unique views… will provide a smorgasbord of what businesses will succeed in the coming decades and the types of skills workers will need in the future….no matter what the business.  There is no doubt that the delivery of health care is influenced by the state of our economy .   As Jim takes us on a voyage of what health care will look like in 2020, he won’t even mention the phrase ‘health care reform’.  He’ll address what key innovations will affect health care and health care delivery, as well as how we are going to pay for it.  In doing so, he will challenge the usual assumptions we make as trustees with respect to the future.  There is no doubt that we are transitioning from a system which “fixes people after they’re sick” to one of that is focused on preventative, diagnostic and genomic-based medicine. Join us for this thought provoking and mind expanding presentation.

I’m getting a tremendous number of bookings and inquiries from groups throughout the healthcare, pharmaceutical, medical and other sectors for a keynote that looks at the concept of Healthcare 2020: which takes a look at the real scientific, demographic, social, technological and other trends that are providing for real health care transformation.

People are sick to talking about and listening to others talk about Washington-centric health care reform, and want to know what’s really going to happen. That’s why I come in.

Jim Carroll speaks to 4,500 pharmacists at IdeaShare 2011 in San Francisco, on the theme of "changing opportunities, changing roles." His job was to encourage innovative thinking as to how they can seize opportunities in the health care system, by thinking about the major trends which are changing the system out to the year 2020.

Contact me today — or followup through the speakers bureau that sent you to my Web site — to learn how I can help you with your own transformative thinking. And in addition, check out the Healthcare Trends section of my blog for some fascinating posts regarding what I’ve been doing in this sector.

730AM, New Orleans, an audience of 4,500 executives. My keynote theme is “Today’s Trends – Tomorrow’s Opportunities.” I’m taking a look at the trends of Healthcare 2020 — the key trends that will provide for transformative opportunities in health care in the years to come. Trends that are unfolding today — one of them being the huge velocity behind wireless and mobile health applications, and the rapidity of changing patient / consumer behavior.

It’s a low-res video clip — I should have a higher quality version next week. But its worth a watch. (You need to turn the volume up!)

The statistics around mobile technology are, of course, well known, but worth repeating:

  • It took two years for Apple to sell 2 million iPhones.
  •  It took 2 months for them to sell 2 million iPads!
  • It took 1 month to sell 1 million iPhone 4’s!
  • It took 1 day to sell 1 million iPhone 4s
  • it’s estimated that Apple sold 5 million iPhone 4s’s in the first 4 days of release

But it’s what consumers are doing with these technologies that provide so much potential for innovation. With respect to health care, the numbers are quite staggering:

  • 78% of consumers are interested in mobile health solutions
  • medical and health care apps are 3rd fast growing category for iPhone and Android phones
  • the Apple App store now has 17,000 health care related apps
  • 60% of which are aimed at the consumer

What we have happening here is a massive trend in which people are changing their behaviours, actions, wellness, and day to day routines in which they actively manage their health circumstances through the personal digital assistants which are becoming an ingrained part of their lives.

Innovation is all about finding opportunity when business models change. The centuries old relationship between doctor and patient is changing in a massive way — driven with increased velocity by mobile and wireless technologies. This is HUGE.

This is a huge trend, and will probably provide one of the biggest areas for innovation in the world of health care out to the year 2020. I just wrote about this in a recent blog post – read “When Silicon Valley takes over health care innovation” for more.

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