Insights · July 7th, 2011

Early this year 1200 people crowded a ballroom in Singapore to begin the first ever conference in Asia on the subject of integrated health care. Here in the U.S. we tend to think that others have solved the health care challenges of the future. It is true that most other developed countries reached agreement on which model they would use for health care payments. Here in the U.S. the health care bill of 2010 attempts to nudge the U.S. toward a more cohesive system that covers more people. But innovations in health care payment do not really do all that much to bring down the growth curve of future health care costs. The secret to doing that lies in developing better care models, like integrated care, more innovation in health care delivery, much better focus on healthy life styles, and breakthroughs that dramatically impact chronic diseases that are associated with high costs.

In the Singapore conference several key lessons were highlighted. You can read about them in greater depth here. When you look at the list, I am sure you will be struck, as I was, by the similarity of global concerns to what we fret about here in the states. The lessons from Singapore:

  • Governments and providers need to invest resources to integrate care.
  • A number of successful models of better integration of care now exist around the world.
  • Technology will play a key role in enabling care integration.
  • With the increasing incidence of chronic illness, transitional care has emerged as key issue, as the
    hand-off between care providers tends to be the most vulnerable moment for patients.
  • The quality and scope of primary care has a great impact on integration of care.
  • A world-wide shortage of healthcare professionals plagues many countries.
  • There is growing evidence that support groups for patients, especially those with chronic illnesses are
    effective tools for improving care integration and outcomes.
  • The issue of “integrated end-of-life care” is just beginning to be seriously addressed, as much of the
    developed world faces rapidly aging populations, and the developing world sees people living much
    longer as well.
  • The bottom line, as I tell the health care related groups that I work with, is that the real work of improving health care and controlling the cost is just beginning, and goes well beyond the insurance issues that continue to be the focus of health care reform as we usually think of it.

    Art & Society
    Nikolas Badminton – Chief Futurist

    Nikolas Badminton

    Nikolas is the Chief Futurist of the Futurist Think Tank. He is world-renowned futurist speaker, a Fellow of The RSA, and has worked with over 300 of the world’s most impactful companies to establish strategic foresight capabilities, identify trends shaping our world, help anticipate unforeseen risks, and design equitable futures for all. In his new book – ‘Facing Our Futures’ – he challenges short-term thinking and provides executives and organizations with the foundations for futures design and the tools to ignite curiosity, create a framework for futures exploration, and shift their mindset from what is to WHAT IF…

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