The Future of Health

How innovation will blur traditional health care boundaries

The life sciences and health care industry is on the brink of large-scale disruption. In a future of health that’s defined by radically interoperable data, open yet secure platforms, and consumer-driven care, what role will you play?

How will greater data connectivity and interoperability shape the future of health?

Fundamental shifts in innovation tend to occur in seven-year cycles. And while it’s possible to foresee what could happen over the next one or two cycles, looking ahead to 2040 (three cycles from now) will likely reveal a completely different reality than what we can comprehend today. What will emerge in the next 21 years that will dramatically reshape the life sciences and health care industry?


2040: Our vision for the future of health

By 2040, health care as we know it today will no longer exist. There will be a fundamental shift from “health care” to “health.” And while disease will never be completely eliminated, through science, data, and technology, we will be able to identify it earlier, intervene proactively, and better understand its progression to help consumers more effectively and actively sustain their well-being. The future will be focused on wellness and managed by companies that assume new roles to drive value in the transformed health ecosystem.

Driven by greater data connectivity; interoperable and open, secure platforms; and increasing consumer engagement, 10 archetypes are likely to emerge and will replace and redefine today’s traditional life sciences and health care roles to power the future of health. The 10 archetypes will fall into three distinct, but interconnected, categories:

  • Data and platforms: These archetypes will be the foundational infrastructure that form the backbone of tomorrow’s health ecosystem. They will generate the insights for decision making. Everything else will build off of the data and platforms that underpin consumer-driven health.
  • Well-being and care delivery: These archetypes will be the most health-focused of the three groupings, made up of care facilities and health communities—both virtual and physical, and will provide consumer-centric delivery of products, care, wellness and well-being.
  • Care enablement: These archetypes will be connectors, financers, and regulators that help make the industry’s “engine” run.

All three components need to be fully functioning and integrated for the future of health to come to life.

Whether it’s just one or several of these archetypes, life sciences and health care organizations need to make choices now to decide which role(s) they want to play in the future. Critical to this decision is understanding how multiple archetypes could fit together into a cohesive strategy and new business models required for success in the future.

What role will you play in the future of health?


The 10 archetypes defining the health ecosystem of the future

These archetypes fall into three distinct, but interconnected, categories. Explore them below:

Data and platforms:

1. Data convener

Data-gathering organizations will have an economic model built around aggregating and storing individual, population, institutional, and environmental data. They will also promote interoperability and help ensure privacy/security. Data will be used to drive the future of health.

2. Science and insights engine

Some organizations will likely have an economic model driven by their ability to derive insights and define the algorithms that power the future of health. These organizations will conduct research, develop analytical tools, and generate data insights that go far beyond human capabilities in care delivery.

3. Data and platform infrastructure builder

This new world of health will need infrastructure and platforms that can serve highly empowered and engaged individuals in real time. Someone will need to lay the pipes. Data and platform infrastructure builders will develop and manage site-less health infrastructure to link consumers and health stakeholders and set standards for platform components.

Well-being and care delivery:

4. Health product developer

Health product developers will power the consumer health ecosystem by developing and manufacturing wellness and care products-from applications to drugs and devices. The economic model of these organizations are driven by their ability to enable well-being and care delivery. While there will continue to be organizations that develop products, those products won’t be limited to pharmaceuticals and medical devices. They will also include software, applications, and wellness products.

5. Consumer-centric health community

Along with companies that develop health products, other organizations will provide the structure that supports virtual communities. Consumer-centric health players will provide virtual, personalized wellness and care to consumers; leverage community to encourage behavior change; and drive consumer and caregiver education.

6. Specialty care operator

Two decades from now, we will still have disease, which means we will still need specialty care providers and highly specialized facilities where those patients can receive care. Specialty care operators will provide essential specialty care and interventions when in-home wellness and care efforts are insufficient.

7. Localized health hub

While there will be some specialty care, most health care will likely be delivered in localized health hubs. Localized health hubs will serve as centers for education, prevention, and treatment in a retail setting. Additionally, local hubs will connect consumers to virtual, home, and auxiliary wellness providers.

Care enablement:

8. Connectors and intermediaries

These are the logistics providers that will run the just-in-time supply chain, facilitate device and medication procurement operations, and get the product to the consumer.

9. Individualized financier

Unlike the health insurers of today, these organizations will create the financial products that individuals will use to navigate their care. These organizations will offer tailored modular and catastrophic care coverage packages. They will drive reductions in care costs by leveraging advanced risk models, consumer incentives and market power.

10. Regulator

While we will still have regulators, we probably won’t view them as governmental traffic cops. They will set the standards for how business is transacted. The regulators of the future will influence policy to catalyze the future of health and drive innovation while promoting consumer and public safety.

Learn more about the future of health

Research and perspectives
from Deloitte Insights

Dig deeper with cutting-edge research from our Deloitte Center from Health Solutions and perspectives from industry leaders that help you think differently about the future and key steps you can take today to prepare. 

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Tales of transformation
podcast series

What else will define the future of health? Tune in to season two of our Tales of transformation podcast to hear more.

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Short take articles
from our leaders

Explore our blog series on the future of health where Deloitte leaders dig into our 2040 vision and industry implications.

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