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The Next 90 in HealthCare

The Ontario Hospital Association — based in Canada — is celebrating it’s 90th year. As part of that, it arranged for a number of experts to comment on the future of healthcare, and is running this in a site that “looks at the next 90 years.

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 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.

They asked me to contribute a piece.

I’m still doing a *tremendous* number of talks in the health care sector; it is one of the most high velocity industries around. For more insight, check out the ‘health care trends‘ section of my web site.


The Next 90
by Jim Carroll

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.

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.

Yet 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 “hospital 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.

There is a realization that there is an urgent need to challenge the very philosophies upon which the system is built. That’s why, when we look back from the future, everyone will know that it was the major scientific, technological, consumer and social trends that allowed for some very dramatic change in the concept of health care delivery. Preventative concepts are part of this big transition. I suspect by 2020 or 2025, we will have 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.

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