Live from Cannes Lions Health: As many of you readers know, we’re kind of obsessed with trends here at Syneos Health. So, when we heard Andrea Bell, Director of Insight and Executive Editor at WGSN, was sharing her perspective on the top five trends changing healthcare, we had to check it out. Here are the highlights:
Millennials may still be blamed for destroying our favorite conventions and institutions (the napkin industry was apparently the latest to fall to their preferences), but there’s no disrupter quite like Generation Z. The generation, defined by technology and fluid in their beliefs, is creating a tsunami of change around the world and in medicine.
Allclusive Health is one way they’re showing those new expectations. They want medicine to look and work like them. That means new communication methods, like direct-to-doc social media and text interactions, and healthcare professionals communities that reflect the diversity of their generation.
Gen Z is the most diverse generation we’ve seen and they expect #WeTooHealthcare. In fact, some are saying that the new MD is medical diversity. Medical schools and health systems are actively investing in recruiting and education designed to even out the white coat playing field and tackle implicit biases that can create gaps between doctor and patient. Part of that diversity is female. Women are taking on “bikini medicine” and demanding a bigger role in clinical development and whole-body urgency for all their medical challenges.
The Now Age
From the rise of doggie yoga to milkshakes with healing properties, we’ve reached an era when a crystal a day keeps the doctor away, Bell said. Anxiety, burnout, and constant connectivity may be driving our new demand for wellness, convenience and mindfulness, but trust plays a role, too. Only 38% of millennials globally trust their doctors; many trust their peers more.
In the gap, a number of new industries and practices are growing. Shamanism, sound bathing and conscious spaces are all on the rise in the West. Ingredients are the new euphorics as people turn from alcohol (use continues to decline in the younger generations year over year) to ingredient-added drinks that bring bliss and relaxation. New leaders are canning feelings. And, CBD wellness will continue to grow in importance, becoming a $22 billion industry by 2022.
Not all this work on ourselves is happening at home. Wellness tourism is a $45 – 72 billion / year industry, projected to grow 25% year over year for the next decade.
The New Age
What does aging look like today? According to new research, old age now starts at 75, not the previous 65 year benchmark.
Bell called Asia’s Boomers, A Generation Reborn. Twenty-five percent of that population will be 60 or older by 2050. In Japan, the government is actively planning for the 100 Year Life. How will that experience and related societal needs look radically different based on those longer life spans? Today, 8.07 million Japanese over 65 have a job. The reasons go beyond financial to social connectivity and activity. New programs are being put in place to help actively place seniors in roles with impact.
Speaking of age, the future is grey and female. Women are outliving men by 5 – 7 years, and are increasingly amassing personal and inherited wealth. How do we serve these women longer, more relevantly? Bell pointed to numerous opportunities to evolve products, tools and support to better serve this largely ignored, high-means population.
Of course, at any conference in 2019 there’s a lot of buzz about AI, but it still remains a tricky area. Amazon’s Alexa can transmit medical information but most of our industry leaders and innovators are still struggling with how – or even IF it really should.
Perhaps the fastest growing area for AI globally is precision medicine. China is the global leader there, investing $9 billion in the run up to 2021 to enable more accurate diagnoses and efficiencies in algorithms of care.
In the West, nutria-genomics is seeing some of the fastest uptake, including programs like GenoPalatethat help recommend foods and vitamins. These algorithm diets can extend to weekly meal planning and are evolving to include extra-DNA inputs, like stress and travel.