From health(care) to healthy ageing
Predicting the future of healthcare and life sciences in 2025
10 minute read
Welcome to the first in our series of Life Sciences and Healthcare predictions 2025.
Prediction for 2025. More people are fully informed about health risks and take a proactive approach to prevention and treatment. They’re aware of the risks of developing chronic disease and have embraced prevention based on hyper-personalised insights. Ageing well by maintaining physical and mental health (with tailored exercise and nutrition) is the focus of many people. People happily monitor their healthcare data through validated apps, wearables and connected devices. There has also been a shift to preventative measures – including vaccines, genetic testing and therapies to boost vitality, wellness and immune health. To enhance behavioural change, virtual health coaches and digital twins are on hand.
The world in 2025
- Engaged consumers. Most people understand they’re largely responsible for their health, and the impact that ageing, nutrition and exercise can have on their immune system; but others need ‘nudges’ to help them change their behaviours
- Healthily ageing. Geriatric science, plus regenerative and precision medicine, offer new insights to support our understanding of ageing. People use supplements, prophylactic treatments and vaccinations to prevent disease with, AgeTech solutions helping older people live safely and independently for longer
- Continuous health monitoring. Individuals no longer request intermittent healthcare checks when feeling unwell: instead they deploy technologies for continuous health monitoring
- Mental health monitoring. Changes in mental health are identified through face-recognition technology, sleep patterns, mood and environmental factors
- Personal health information. People have easy access to their own secure health records and have control over who to share them with and why.
Conquered constraints in 2025
- Skills and talent. Coordinated health-improvement initiatives have helped develop people’s digital skills/health literacy, using virtual health coaches, gamification and chat-bots
- Funding. As the cost of sensors and genetic testing has decreased, people are happy to spend money on personalised therapies that will help them age well
- Regulation. Regulators have modernised the oversight of consumer health products by developing an internationally agreed framework which segments products by their risk profiles to ensure they are safe and effective
- Data. Enhanced data security and privacy settings have improved consumer confidence in using medical technologies. Connectivity via 5G is a huge factor.
Evidence in 2020
- Apple Watch Series 6. Uses a SpO2 sensor to measure oxygen levels for fitness and wellness purposes via red and infrared light. Apple is partnering with academics to study how this new metric can be used to help treat medical conditions
- Amazon Halo. As well as tracking fitness through movement and sleep, smartphone cameras can take body scans via the app to give a better idea of BMI than just weight alone. Voice analysis monitors the consumers’ tone throughout the day to monitor stress levels
- Deep Longevity’s ‘Biohorology’. Features new tools based on ‘biohorology’ (the science of measuring the passage of time in living systems) that use the biomarkers of ageing such as DNAm, gene expression and metabolomics.
How COVID-19 has accelerated this prediction
The global pandemic has raised public awareness of two things. The risks to their health of having a weak immune system and an increase in mental health risks.
COVID-19 has also increased significantly the use of technology by people monitoring their own health and learning new ways to lead more active and healthy lifestyles. It’s also shown the importance of improving digital literacy, and establishing more local, meaningful public engagement that focuses on building trust and compassion with local communities.
Importantly, COVID-19 has highlighted how pivotal vaccinations are to protect people’s health and return countries to a ‘new normal’. Hopefully, in early 2021, we’ll have greater clarity as to how quickly mass-vaccinations will be available and the public’s appetite for them.
There has been a growth in the number of AI chatbots to enable people to ask questions about their symptoms to determine the likelihood of a COVID-19 infection and obtain advice. They also provide a clear risk assessment and advice based on the latest policies, plus recommendation on self-isolation and access to tests. The German start-up DOCYET, for example, has a chat app that helps patients navigate their healthcare system and matches them with COVID-19-related medical services on- and off-line.
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