While no one knows what the future will hold, it can be fun to take a guess at what might happen in a couple years. But predicting what will happen 21 years from now is a bit more challenging. Heck, it was 21 years ago — 1998 — when Google was founded. Back then, who could have foreseen what our world is like today?

Despite how difficult it sounds, Deloitte has decided to look into its crystal ball and outline its vision for health 21 years from now, in 2040. David Betts, a principal in Deloitte Consulting’s life sciences and health care practice, gave two reasons for the company’s decision to look so far out into the future.

“We need to begin to think about strategy by breaking out of the constraints that too short of a view can provide us,” he said.

Another reason, Betts said, is that “innovation oftentimes moves in seven-year cycles.” Imagining what healthcare will be like 21 years down the road encourages people to “challenge the status quo” and think about a new set of perspectives.

With that in mind, Deloitte’s ideas about the future of health and medicine fall within three buckets.

Data and platforms
“We grounded our entire point of view around the central concept that the future of health will be driven by radically interoperable data and open, secure platforms that enable and power consumers to engage in their own journey,” Betts said.

The idea is that the information and platforms will be the foundation of the health environment of the future. As Betts pointed out, the goal is to use the data to predict changes in an individual’s health and address issues before they happen.

Care enablement
This category is made up of three parties: connectors, financers and regulators. Connectors and intermediaries will run the supply chain, facilitate device and medication procurement operations and get the product to the consumer. Financer organizations will develop financial products consumers can use to navigate care, and regulators will set standards for how business is transacted.

Well-being and care delivery
This section consists of care facilities and health communities that deliver products, care, wellness and well-being. Patients will be able to receive virtual care and in-person care.

Additionally, as Betts pointed out, “there will always be a need for some specialty care” and entities that treat patients with multiple comorbidities.

Deloitte engaged with its clients, practitioners and leadership to develop this three-pronged point of view. Betts said the goal of the predictions is to help healthcare organizations think about their geographic footprint and their role as it relates to data and technology and the customer experience.

Picture: AndreyPopov, Getty Images

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