Future in Focus Newsletter

Future in Focus Newsletterwww.futureinfocus.comSeptember 2015 

The Future of Healthcare

Pat Rullo“One thing we figured out is that any encounter with the healthcare system has the potential to cause further harm, so it’s important to enter with your eyes and ears open, with some knowledge, and with the intent to ask questions and speak up,” says talk show host Pat Rullo (shown here), author of “Speak Up and Stay Alive.”

That is what her company is focused on. So it was a pleasure to speak with this author, radio show host, and insurance industry expert who has served on the advisory boards of New York Life Insurance Company and Transamerica Life Insurance Company.

In the September issue of Future In Focus magazine, Rullo helps us dig deep and asks questions that give us a look at forecasts for how healthcare might look in the coming decades. Scroll down for her Q&A with me. 

Here’s to your health! — Michael Vidikan, CEO, FutureInFocus.com

Pat Rullo: At Future In Focus, you use trend-spotting and forecasting to help your clients develop their strategic plans.

I think it’s interesting to think about looking forward to figure out what might be coming our direction as a way to so we can prepare — maybe stay out of trouble, or maybe take advantage of what’s coming.

With that in mind, what do you see as the future of healthcare in the United States?

Michael Vidikan: I see significant challenges ahead for the medical industry — we're talking about hospitals, insurance companies, and other health providers.

Unfortunately, there's so much regulation and government involvement in the healthcare system. As a result, there's so much administrative overhead. This has led to a wave of hospital consolidation as hospitals try to get bigger to manage the administrative costs. According to a survey by the The Physicians Foundation, 77 percent of physicians are pessimistic about the future of medicine, and many independent physicians are leaving their practices to go to the hospital systems to avoid the administrative burdens.


Where I think we'll see the most positive outcomes will be where consumers are empowered by technology to improve their own health.

For example, studies have shown that dieters who weigh themselves regularly lose more weight. That's because they have something to track, and they see the changes based on their actions. They adopt better behaviors.

What we see coming are a wave of new technologies that will give consumers power over their own health so they can make the best decisions for themselves.

Pat Rullo: What are some examples of the new technologies that will help consumers? 

Michael Vidikan: Are you familiar with the XPRIZE? Peter Diamandis started it about 20 years ago as a $10 million challenge to any team that could develop private space flight. Since then, there have been a variety of XPRIZES, and recently Qualcomm launched a $10 million Tricorder challenge (based on the Star Trek device) to any team that develops a mobile device that can diagnose 15 different diseases.

Nurse and elderly man spending time together --- Image by © Jose Luis Pelaez, Inc./Blend Images/CorbisSo that's where I think we're headed. Consumers will have a stronger role in diagnosing their own illnesses and diseases through the use of these high-tech devices. The home will become the new center of healthcare.

That's going to cut out a lot of doctor visits right there. People will know if they're really sick, and whether they should see a doctor, or maybe instead just stay home and rest.

Also, parents will be able to use these kits to test their children and themselves. Instead of going to the doctor, sitting in the waiting room, taking a test and waiting for the results, these new health diagnostics will provide nearly real-time results.

With telemedicine, they'll be able to share the results with their doctor remotely, use video conferencing to chat, and the doctor can write a prescription, which is then delivered via Amazon PharmaDrone within a few hours.

Pat Rullo: What do you see as some possible game-changers? 

4622338415_9f9b9de0f9_nMichael Vidikan: I'd have to say restorative and regenerative medicine. This is a relatively new field that wants to create and repair living tissues. It's a bit of science fiction that becomes less fiction every day.

We're talking about the possibility of growing new limbs and organs using a person's own cells so there's no chance of rejection.

We could grow new cartilage for an NBA star who blew out his knee in a game, or even create a kidney for a patient on dialysis who's on the wait list. Thousands of people die every year because of a shortage of donated organs, so this would a real game-changer for them.

There's also research being done to try to regenerate insulin-secreting islets in the pancreas. This would effectively cure diabetes as we know it.

Another possibility is 3D-printed organs. In fact, there's a company called Organovo that is 3D-printing tiny livers on microchips, which pharmaceutical companies are then using to test drugs for liver toxicity. We're still awhile away from printing a full-size liver, but the potential is there.

There are going to be lots of challenges before much of this technology can be commercialized — some technical, some ethical, and some regulatory. But it's really an exciting field to watch.

Pat Rullo: Are you familiar with pharmacogenomics — the idea of using people's DNA to see if they would have an adverse reaction to pharmaceuticals?

3511507607_07f60134f1_nMichael Vidikan: I'm glad you brought that up. There are forecasts that sometime in the next 10-20 years, DNA sequencing is going to be so cheap that everyone will be able to do it. And we'll be able to learn so much from our genome.

When my wife and I got married, we did a genetic analysis through 23andme to see if we were at risk for passing on any genetic defects to children.

It was really incredible to see the results I got back because it went much further than just inherited conditions.

The results included information about health risks to things like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and diabetes — I'm fortunately at low-risk for all of those. And it also included information about sensitivities and responses to specific drugs like blood thinners.

I think this area of science has tremendous potential for patients.

Pat Rullo: Last but not least, tell us about your involvement in 2014 with the nonprofit organization, Movember.com.

MG782_ContentPrograms_Awareness&EductionStatistic_816x626_FAMichael Vidikan: I’ve been involved for about five years in this annual philanthropy campaign where men grow mustaches for the month of November. We look a little foolish sometimes, so people ask us why we have a mustache. That gives us an opportunity to explain that we’re doing this to raise awareness about men's health issues.

A lot of people don’t know that men tend not to go to the doctor very often.

We try to be manly. Many of us had dads who told us to "man up" when we were hurt. As a result, a lot of men don’t go to the doctor when they should. They don’t speak up when they’re in pain. And men also don’t want to talk about being depressed or having suicidal thoughts. We’re trying to change these stigmas.

I hope more men will join Movember this year, and women as well because they encourage the men in their lives to be healthier.

For additional insights on the future of healthcare, listen to the entire interview on Michael Vidikan’s “Future In Focus Radio Show.”

Emerging Trends

Healthcare at Home: Six Forecasts for 2020

Nurse and elderly man spending time together --- Image by © Jose Luis Pelaez, Inc./Blend Images/Corbis

The number of individuals receiving medical care at home will grow over the next decade, driven by demographics, economics, consumer preferences, and technology enablers. IBM notes that residential care and home care together constitute a $45 billion industry that is projected to grow, and that "the cost and quality of care improve" as care moves across the continuum from hospital and clinic to residential to home settings.

Read more…

Emerging Trends

The New Patients: Digital Technology and the New Healthcare Consumer


US consumers continue to take a more central role in decisions about their own healthcare. Now, as technological capabilities and consumer values continue to evolve, a new type of patient is emerging. These patients are driven by a desire for greater control over their own healthcare, by a desire for more and more-timely healthcare information, by the need to control the cost of care, and often by their role as a patient with a chronic health issue or as the family member of such a patient.
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Business Trends

Health and the City


Public health concerns played an important role in the way in which our modern cities were originally built. The desire to improve public health and safety compelled cities to establish safe water supplies and sewerage infrastructures.

However, for at least half a century, health concerns have taken a backseat to a focus on mobility as planners have sought to optimize the city for drivers. In recent years, the relevance of urban design to health has reemerged, with a growing awareness that urban design is contributing to lifestyle diseases that diminish the health of World 1 and, increasingly, World 2.Read more…

Business Trends

IT-Enabled Personalized Healthcare: Improving the Science of Health Promotion and Care

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Even as efforts to reform the US healthcare system are underway, the focus on fragmentation and waste leaves out a key issue for the future of healthcare: how to use science-based methods for health promotion and care delivery.

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Business Trends

The Future of the EU Biomedical Healthcare Sector


The European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Eurofound) explored four scenarios to determine the future business climate (to 2017) for biomedical healthcare, including R&D, manufacturing, and innovation.Read more…

Business Trends

Medical Tourism: Healthy Outcomes

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Medical tourism — the practice of consumers traveling outside their home countries for healthcare — is moving from the medical fringes to mainstream status as a sophisticated, globally accepted approach to care. Read more…

Generational Trends

Millennials and Health: Seven Trends

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Members of the Millennial generation, born between 1979 and 1998, are 16–35 years of age in 2014. Like every generation before them, Millennials have been shaped by the parenting style of the generation that raised them (the boomers) and by a unique set of life experiences. As they head off to college, enter the workforce, and start families, Millennials are poised to bring their desires, values, and style to every aspect of society.

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Business Trends

The Transformation of Healthcare: From Volume to Value


Even as politicians wrangle over the future of healthcare, new approaches are emerging at the grassroots level — and this is starting to push 21st-century healthcare from a volume-driven, high-tech, acute-care paradigm toward a value-driven approach oriented to wellness, prevention, and optimal outcomes.

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