Is American Healthcare Innovation in the ICU?
It might be sick, but consumers are optimistic about the future.
Posted Jun 12, 2017
Healthcare innovation is sick. At least that's what Americans are saying in a recent Klick Health survey of 1,012 adults, conducted by Maru/Matchbox. And while the survey is full of optimistic perspectives (we'll get to that shortly), what caught my eye was one simple fact that Americans are offering: out of 18 industries, health and wellness ranked first in terms of need for innovation. That's at the top of the list—but the bottom if you look at it from another perspective.
That's not very good. And to add insult to injury, only 17 percent of consumers perceive health-related industries as being most innovative today—lagging significantly behind consumer electronics, telecommunications, and media and entertainment. Of course, this is a complicated issue. Innovation—from a consumer's perspective—can rely on more superficial or personal aspects of care and fail to see the vast innovations that loom large in the life sciences industry. But it should come as no surprise that everything in healthcare, from costs to care, had room for improvement.
A closer look at the poll yields significant optimism. It found that over 90 percent of consumers believe that creative innovation will impact healthcare over the next five years. Almost half said it will help physicians better treat and diagnose patients; 20 percent say it will help patients and their loved ones better manage and care for their health. Almost one in five say it will go as far as actually helping prevent disease.
Neuropsychologist Rex Jung of the University of New Mexico provided this key insight:
This survey highlights consumers’ adoption of technology as a main healthcare interface. The findings really reflect a shift in the consumer mindset from being passive recipients of healthcare to more active and autonomous individuals who appear eager to try more creative and innovative approaches to managing their health.
Now that's an interesting and compelling takeaway. Consumers are moving from a passive role to more active engagement. Interestingly, this reflects some of what's happening in medicine overall. Today, control is shifting to collaboration as various stakeholder from patient to provider all seek new and innovative ways to manage health and wellness. And technology will certainly play an important role in shaping this future. Here are the top five technologies that consumers predicted will have biggest impact on people’s health in next five years.
My sense is that healthcare innovation is certainly in the ICU, but it's alive and well in all the amazing technology. It's found in sensors, monitors, data and so many true innovations that actively and passively permeate the environment and improve outcomes. And while healthcare may be frustrating for physicians and patients, an inflection point is at hand. It's where innovation takes flight to advance a more healthy humanity into the next century. It's nice to see that even amidst the controversies and concerns that people are catching on.