Health and wellbeing in a Digital World - Vision 2025: Part I Transformations in care delivery

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Director, Health and wellbeing programs
Hanna Rantala
+358 50 5577 797
Healthcare as an industry is transforming. The concept of wellbeing is increasing in importance. Living environments are evolving, including smart homes, assisted living and robotics. Technologies and innovations are having major impacts to individual’s life. Individuals are taking more control and recognizing also their responsibility. Business Finland and Future Watch commissioned a study on the landscape of developments that will impact the delivery of Health & Wellbeing, to better understand the anticipated transformations, impacts and opportunities to support its strategy for ensuring Finland is well positioned to take advantage of such trends and to help drive better decision making for all stakeholders in Finland. Results of the study are published and discussed with stakeholders and companies in Business Finland’s Smart Life Finland program events and in Health Tuesdays, please find the relevant links to follow up at the end of this page.

First part of the study - Transformations in care delivery – key findings: 

  • Healthcare delivery systems across the globe strive to meet three core objectives: improving the quality of care, increasing access of services, and reducing per capita costs of healthcare.  Major societal strides taken in the past century have made it imperative for care delivery systems to challenge their status quo in order to meet the ever increasing demand.
  • Most important social changes during the past century include the rise in average life expectancy and population. While in 1900, the global population stood at around 1.6 billion and on an average people didn't expect to live beyond 40 years of age, today the global population is above 7 billion with people living above 80 years of age in many parts of the world.
  • In parallel to the rising population there has been an increase in the adoption of technological solutions, which have reduced the need of manual labor. This is encouraging a sedentary lifestyle where people are consuming  fast food, with minimal exercises. These societal changes are producing a rapidly unfit population which is prone to chronic disease such as diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disorders.
  • There is a pressing need for care delivery to evolve in order to meet the challenges posed by evolving social dynamics. Hospital systems, with their limited infrastructure and funds, cannot meet the needs of such a large patient cohort. For instance, it is estimated that the number of adults with type 2 diabetes is expected to rise from 406 million in 2018 to 511 million in 2030 due to ageing, urbanization, and associated changes in diet and physical activity. Amount of insulin needed to effectively treat type 2 diabetes will rise by more than 20% worldwide by 2030. Without major improvements in access, insulin will be beyond the reach of around 40 million adults with type 2 diabetes who will need it in 2030.
  • Healthcare delivery systems need to lay the onus on people. Instead of clamoring for meeting the increasing demand, which will be difficult to meet due to limited resources, healthcare delivery systems should try to spur individuals toward a healthier lifestyle. Focus should be on prevention of disease rather than trying to remedy it.
  • People should be sensitized toward using digital technologies to monitor their health. Payers need to innovate medical insurance models, such that there are economic incentives for people to stay fit, such as lower co-pay and deductibles. Such moves will prompt individuals to take more responsibility for their health.
  • Another direction which governments need to review is decentralization of healthcare services. There is a need to reduce loads on hospitals. Government should promote healthcare at the community level. If a person gets sick, care should be available at a primary care center in a retail pharmacy. Such a model will help reduce the load on over burdened hospitals, which should be used only in case of emergency, critical care. To further reduce load on hospitals and create capacity for people who need it more, people recovering from chronic conditions or post
    operation should do so at their homes, instead of hospitals. Smart digital technologies can  help in this regard.

About Smart Life Finland 

Business Finland has started program Smart Life Finland. The goal of the program (2019-2022) is to promote individual, real-time, intelligent health and wellbeing services. The program sets out from changes taking place in the health and wellbeing sector. People are now more interested in their health and wellbeing and also recognize their responsibility for it. We need individual, intelligent health and wellbeing services. In addition, the global need for care is increasing, due to a change in the structure of population as the number of working population is decreasing. It is absolutely necessary to develop solutions for reducing costs. The program boosts the development of health and wellbeing services through digitalization, exponential technologies (e.g. XR, AI, 5G), the platform economy and testbed environments.

Business Finland is prepared to fund the program by EUR 80–100 million. In addition, the aim is to launch four growth engines in the health and wellbeing industry during the program through Growth Engine funding.

Health & Wellbeing in the Digital World - Topics to be covered in 2019, follow the newsletter to get latest updates:
Business Finland Health newsletter

  • The move towards Population Health Management and the role of Preventative Medicine – an integrated and holistic approach
  • The Digital Health Ecosystem in 2025
  • Key enabling Digital Solutions supporting Individual Centric Health & Wellbeing through 2025
  • Next Generation Solutions – R&D and Investment Focus
  • Consumerism and Participative Healthcare – Paradigm shifts in the next decade