72.4% of the Spanish population say they are more concerned about their health since the start of the pandemic. Faced with growing interest and real needs, it is essential to place health and well-being at the center of any strategy – individual, family, social or business.
However, the pandemic is not the only driver of change. On the one hand, the tensions in the health system have led governments to demand more efficiency and transparency from both public institutions and private providers, encouraging the necessary digitization of the sector. On the other hand, traditional players (healthcare groups, insurers, pharmaceutical companies and manufacturers of medical devices) have seen a blossoming of interest in the sector from a new type of entrant: technological ones – start-ups and digital giants such as Apple, Google or Amazon-.
Where is the consumer/patient? The rapid adoption of digital solutions by the general public has led to an increase in their expectations in terms of ease and immediacy. The growing interest in wellness has generated a demand that goes beyond traditional medical services. Empathy and trust have become key factors in ensuring loyalty to health service providers. But with digital transformation halfway through and the stakeholder landscape highly fragmented, building holistic value propositions and delivering a cohesive and seamless patient experience seems like mission impossible.
MAPFRE has carried out a study in collaboration with Accenture on the situation and has identified the five trends that will mark the future of health from a reading of the present: the movements of the main players, the maturity of new technologies and the opinions expressed by experts around the world. Like virtually every industry, we are building a new paradigm that will undoubtedly benefit everyone. But this process is not free from challenges that require the collaboration of all parties.
The healthcare sector has seen an unprecedented injection of cash. In 2021 alone, digital health startups received $31 billion in venture capital, 60% more than the previous year. No one wants to miss out on a market that will reach $426,000 million in 2027. One of the main consequences of the entry of technology players is the high specialization of the ecosystem. Over the past two years, this approach has changed: the rise of telemedicine and the appetite of investors for the sector have enabled the proliferation of B2C models. At the same time, investor interest has shifted from technologies aimed at improving the performance of medical providers (such as new forms of diagnostics) towards digital solutions dedicated to the consumer or the patient. This is the model of 86% of healthcare startups in Spain, the fourth country with the highest number of emerging companies in the sector globally.
The health sector today is in a paradoxical situation: the more companies try to become a platform and build a close relationship with users, the more the offer is fragmented and the more complex it is to create homogeneous experiences for customers. The necessary specialization of actors suggests that the ecosystem will avoid concentration and, on the contrary, will consolidate on the basis of innumerable multidirectional alliances.
One of the many collateral effects of the pandemic has been the awareness of personal health data and their access to it by legal imperative. All this while consumer confidence in privacy is low: only 41% trust their healthcare providers’ ability to adequately protect their data. The first wave of digitization in healthcare focused on hospital and institutional management systems. A second wave, fueled by advances in artificial intelligence, has begun to disrupt diagnostic systems and treatment allocation.
The pandemic has propelled a third, this time centered on the digitization of the doctor-patient relationship (telemedicine). The fourth wave will have to break down information silos, promote standards of information exchange and update the technological infrastructures to make it possible in an efficient and (above all) secure way. This will only be possible with data interoperability, unlocking the true potential of the information age in healthcare, enabling seamless and transparent patient experience, and exponentially advancing the world of research.
Rising social concerns about well-being and shrinking healthcare provider operating margins are driving the growth of preventive healthcare services. At $320 billion in size, the preventative healthcare market is expected to grow 7.8% annually to reach nearly $559 billion by 2028. Technological advancements have put countless devices on the map. self-monitoring available to patients, whether for medical, sports or wellness purposes.
At the same time, advances in genetics have moved from scientific use to consumer health, making molecular testing and genetic analysis available to the average citizen who, beyond discovering their propensity for certain diseases, can discover their sensitivity to certain substances and changing habits. to achieve your health and well-being goals: sleep better, lose weight, improve your cardiovascular fitness, etc. These advances provide citizens with tools to have more knowledge and control over their well-being, empowering them and involving them actively in prevention and the path to better health.
Artificial intelligence is essential for personalized medicine (also called precision medicine). The key is to combine massive access to aggregated and anonymized information with sources of data linked to a specific individual: their medical history, data from DNA sequencing and their molecular phenotype or even the contextual and behavioral factors captured by the devices.
Moreover, thanks to artificial intelligence, personalized medicine does not stop at the current diagnosis and choice of treatment, but rather enters the world of prediction, helping medical personnel to predict future ailments and anticipate future conditions. impact of a certain treatment on the patient.
In February 2021, the use of remote medical services – which peaked in April 2020, during the mass shutdowns in Europe – was 38 times higher than pre-pandemic levels. It seems that telemedicine is here to stay and, as a result, a significant part of primary care is moving from medical centers to homes: it is estimated that in 2025, home care expenditure will represent 25% of the total budget of the health. This trend is not new, since in 2016 the World Economic Forum coined the term home-spital.
The factors behind this movement are diverse. First, the saturation of public health systems (even before the pandemic) and the slowness with which physical infrastructure adapts to population growth in urban areas. Second, the aging of the population: in the rich countries of Europe, the percentage of the population over the age of 80 will double by 2050. Third, the need for public and private health providers (including insurers ) mitigate operating costs to reflect the prices of new treatments. And fourthly, but above all the previous ones, the need to return to health care the humane, close and quality treatment that the tensions in the system have deteriorated in recent years.
72.4% of the Spanish population say they are more concerned about health now
than before the pandemic. This interest has placed health at the center of any strategy, an impulse also stimulated
for scanning possibilities
But the decentralization of health care is not without challenges either. On the one hand, healthcare providers must ensure proper compliance with treatment, so it is essential to implement control solutions that respect patient privacy. This can give rise to new business models in which good patient practices are proactively encouraged. On the other hand, we cannot underestimate the logistical challenges inherent in delivering medicines to homes, transferring medical equipment or conducting face-to-face home visits. Decentralizing the health system does not only mean connecting doctors and patients remotely: this transformation encompasses all aspects of the value chain.
Various forms of telediagnosis can be found today, with applications ranging from general medicine to sophisticated ailments. In addition, new forms of digital therapy have proven capable of increasing the quality of service while helping to overcome the lack of resources.