From traditional health insurance provider to predictive health promoter
When would you like to have your last illness behind you?
Would 2018 be acceptable? Or what about 2028? And even more importantly: How would your life change if you never needed to be afraid of being sick again? During the last few months at the ThinkTank, we've been taking an intense look at the topic of health (and the financing of health) together with many industry innovators. One conclusion: It seems possible that cancer - or even brain death - may soon become curable. Thanks particularly to steady advances in technological capability, the solution of some of the most crucial problems faced by humanity is not far off. At the same time, traditional mechanisms for the financing of healthcare increasingly fail to go far enough. The debate is expanding.
As more than one expert informed us: The first person to reach the age of 1,000 years is likely to already be living today. Once again the question: How would you change your life if you could plan for not only one career projectory, but one professional biography after another? If the family phase of your life, leading to the point where the last child leaves home, only made up a fraction of your lifetime? How long can you trust your partner's promise "till death do us part"? For ten years, 25 or 50? For 100 or 200 years? Or longer?
The significant expansion of the human lifespan will change how we view the future - unquestionably. In this time, our bodies will continue to develop diseases, and we will come to experience an entirely different everyday reality. Today we know a healthcare system whose structure and methods continue to disappoint: We go to the doctor to get healthy ... instead comes classification as "sick." And usually without a word, our health insurance provider draws up the bill, almost entirely without regard for treatment success or further steps. We get sick and recover again in within a healthcare financing system that faces intense transformation pressure from several directions simultaneously:
> Our concept of the human body is shifting - away from repair of a natural given towards optimization and proactive prevention. The chief question for health is steadily changing from "How can I recover my body's original state?" to "What can I do to feel better tomorrow? To perform better? Or to acquire new functionality? The body will become a modifiable good, probably one of the most important assets we will have. Increasingly, the product ranges of conventional health insurance providers have little to offer ...
> Who do we trust with our bodies? The family doctor for one - as we've learned from childhood. But what will we base this trust on in the future? By appearance, by voice and mannerisms, by personal contact, by how professionally the practice is organized? Will it be by the comfortable opening hours or the easy appointment booking? One thing is sure: The decisive criteria won't be our doctor's knowledge or analytical abilities - the AI systems that process the immense amounts of data from research, clinics, and our own medical information are simply developing too rapidly. The soundness of the judgment of tomorrow's physician will owe itself directly to the intelligence of their digital system - whose quality in turn can only be accurately judged by our own personal AI systems.
> The insurance sector, which finances our health, faces incredible pressure across the board: technologically, legislatively, financially - and even more in terms of communication and product development. The real challenge is adaptivity: We will soon see the massive emergence of highly individualized products that will flexibly identify and adapt themselves to changing user needs at all times. This means that the solidarity principle itself will have to find a new basis.
These factors are among those that make the field of health insurance a very exciting one for us futurists. This week the 2b AHEAD ThinkTank is publishing the results of our extensive research project in the form of a new study, "The Future of Health Insurance." We have identified who is driving these new developments - and why. We interviewed those who are shaping the future of the health market and compiled their statements into a substantial picture of the future for health insurance. We predict a fundamental transformation for companies within the industry - at least, that is, for those who want to proactively shape their future. I can very, very warmly recommend this study to you - it is exciting material!
This study was conducted in cooperation with AOK PLUS. In very open, curious, and passionate discussions, we discussed the future of health insurance providers as we sought a valid future for the solidarity principle. As a partner, AOK PLUS was both enjoyable and challenging (in a positive sense) to work with as we searched for answers about how this industry can create a future-proof position. As always, you will find the study on our website, free of charge and free to share. It was created with the intention of advancing dialogue, expanding horizons, and sparking new debates. I look forward to hearing your reaction!