What does the general public want and expect from healthcare today? What are the opportunities that technological innovation can provide healthcare? How will technology help to meet the rapidly evolving patient expectations and healthcare needs of tomorrow?
These are the questions Opinium Research and Lansons Health address in our latest report, entitled People Powered Health. The report is the result of a multi-phase research study that reveals an enormous opportunity for technology to complement healthcare services in ways that can improve prevention, reduce pressure on healthcare services and improve overall patient outcomes. Most important of all, it reveals an overwhelming public support for greater and more radical innovation across the healthcare sector that mirrors our developing consumer expectations in other aspects of our lives – be it banking, clothing, shopping or travel.
Why did we feel that now was the right time to conduct this study? We wanted to understand the role that ordinary citizens can play in shaping the future of a healthcare system that is facing significant challenges from an aging population, a growing number of challenging health issues (such as diabetes and dementia) and the need to balance the books across the public sector. The Department of Health has set clear priorities for the coming Parliament: increasing the focus on public health to move to a preventative healthcare model, providing greater access to services across communities, delivering more integrated and holistic care, and shifting the healthcare system towards a human-centred and human-powered model.
To achieve all this in five, ten or even twenty-five years will require forward planning and engagement with stakeholders now. It requires stakeholders from across the healthcare, technology and business sectors to join in a discussion about the opportunities that exist for radical innovation and the steps needed to make these priorities a reality. The NHS is already making great strides in this arena with the recent launch of the NHS Innovation Accelerator programme in July, which is funding seventeen pioneering projects that mark the start of an innovation revolution in public healthcare. But this is just the start of the revolution and there is still a huge gap in understanding the potential benefits of technology and the particular patient groups who can benefit the most.
There is latent potential within the digitally empowered public, which will only increase in future years. In less than a decade, the smartphone has made its way into half of the world population’s hands – it is the fastest selling piece of technology in world history. By 2020, smartphones will account for 80% of all mobile data traffic and the Internet of Things will have taken a big step closer to reality, with an estimated 26 billion connected devices across the world. Understanding how to unlock the potential of this vast digital population in healthcare, whether through digital services, online public health campaigns, social media or even Big Data, should be one of the principal debates of the day.
Our sincere hope is that the findings in this report help to kick-start this debate and shed light on potential areas of immediate and long-term promise. It tells a story of an aspirational public, searching for tools and information that will empower them to better manage their health and wellbeing, safe in the knowledge that when they need complex intervention, the best people and technologies are there to support them. Realising the vision of people powered health is a task that requires cooperation and involvement from all stakeholders. This is only a small beginning on a much longer journey. And as that journey unfolds, we very much look forward to working with you.
Please contact Tina Woods, Head of Lansons Health, on firstname.lastname@example.org or James Sweatman at Opinium Research on JamesSweatman@opinium.co.uk if you have any questions on the report or would like to collaborate in strategic partnerships to create better health.