Better public health drives better productivity
Predicting the future of healthcare and life sciences in 2025
10 minute read
Welcome to the second in our series of Life Sciences and Healthcare predictions 2025.
Prediction for 2025. Public health is a priority for governments everywhere, with a higher percentage of funding devoted to public health. National statutory public health organisations are responsible for building and maintaining a robust and responsive public health infrastructure – with regionally coordinated public health agencies, a diverse and well-qualified workforce and modern data systems. Non-traditional enterprises also work together, focussing on best-practice protection, prevention and promotion aimed at tackling health inequalities. Digital inclusion and adoption of scientific and technological advancements have reduced health risks and improved prevention. The public health system is underpinned by intelligent national screening and vaccination programmes that focus on high-risk populations through better use of technology, genomics and AI.
The world in 2025
- Government investment in strong public health national infrastructure. Using population data, behavioural science and digital tech to protect the public, prevent disease, promote healthy living and prolong good health. Promotion strategies are co-created, through improved public engagement
- A robust disease strategy to handle outbreaks. Underpinned by real-time access to quality data and strengthened health protection systems locally and nationally
- Predictive prevention models. These have led to more precise public health digital interventions – dramatically lowering smoking rates, improving nutrition and reducing loneliness. Premature mortality rates have dropped for people with long-term health issues, as have cases caused by pollution and infectious diseases
- AI and predictive modelling. Used to detect signals and identify health risks by looking at things like travel patterns, food habits and environmental parameters
- Public health agencies investment strategies. Focused on infection prevention and control policies backed up by financial incentives and penalties to drive improvements; and appropriate use of antibiotics to tackle antimicrobial resistance.
Conquered constraints in 2025
- Skills and talent. Public health professionals have been up-skilled to identify and tackle health and social care needs. They’re also able to respond to emergency health threats by using data analytics and targeted evidence-based interventions. Digital inclusion initiatives have improved the equity of people’s access to digital technologies and resources targeted at reducing inequalities
- Funding. More healthcare funding is devoted to public health as policymakers move their focus from sickness and cure to wellness and disease prevention with payment reforms, including value-based payment models, helping to optimise outcomes at the lowest cost
- Regulation. These have been strengthened in the public health arena, with public health authorities proactively measuring and monitoring compliance
- Data. A robust public health IT infrastructure has been created to identify, target and reduce health inequalities. At the same time, to address social health determinants, national and local authorities have established safe and secure data-sharing agreements for collecting, analysing and sharing multiple data sources.
Evidence in 2020
- Portugal. The Serviço Nacional de Saúde 24 serves as the single digital access point for health information 24/7. It provides advice and guidance on health issues and lets people book vaccinations. The platform is accessible across a range of devices, is intuitive and uses plain language.
- Italy. The National Plan for Vaccine Prevention increased the number of mandatory vaccinations from 4 to 10 – they’re now compulsory for children enrolling in state-run schools.
- Australia. As approximately 17% of children are overweight and 7% obese, feedAustralia acts as an early-obesity intervention, childhood nutrition and health education programme. Over 6,000 early childhood education and care services currently use it.
How COVID-19 has accelerated this prediction
COVID-19 has highlighted the critical importance of having a robust public health system, underpinned by a comprehensive, epidemiologically relevant, data infrastructure (including demographic and mobility data).
There is a need to do more to protect public health, facilitate recovery and mitigate subsequent surges in infection, including:
- test, track and trace to detect new cases and levels of immunity
- evidence-based mitigation strategies and localised transmission segmentation
- consistent and clear, communication strategies
- an adequate supply of PPE and other infection-control resources, strengthening existing and creating new supply chains
- collaborating with other countries to share critical data and mitigation strategies.
In the USA, the COVID-19 Task Force (in partnership with Apple) developed an app that offers guidance on things like social distancing, symptom monitoring, testing and self-isolating. Meanwhile, the COVID-19 Mobility Data Network (a worldwide group of infectious disease epidemiologists working with tech companies) use aggregated mobility data to provide daily updates to decision-makers at state/local levels on how well social distancing interventions are working.
The ten predictions will be released in pairs over five weeks, including ‘Next generation supply chains are integrated into healthcare and the patient experience’ and ‘Companies have reversed the decline in the returns from pharma R&D’.
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Director, UK Centre for Health Solutions
Lead Partner, Public Sector Health