A Better Life of Health and Well-being

Health and well-being are central to the human experience. Whoever you are, wherever you live, being and feeling healthy and well is a universal aspiration. Yet there are many ways to think about it.

Right now, humanity is undergoing tremendous change and stress. On the one hand are life-enhancing breakthroughs in science and technology. On the other are destabilizing factors, such as the global pandemic and persistent inequities, along with the disruption that often accompanies new technologies. Many of us are left re-evaluating existing approaches to health. What are the right goals? The most appropriate business models? The best incentives? The most effective ways to gain organizational and community support?

A more human-empowered, knowledge-driven and technology-enabled approach is possible. A redefined concept of health and well-being focuses on prevention, better outcomes, lower costs, and more seamless, less fragmented experiences for those involved. Experiences where individuals are supported by a shared ecosystem that spans governments, institutions, businesses and organizations. Central to the idea is the definition of health as a state of physical, mental, and social well-being, not merely the absence of disease or illness.

Overcoming Challenges to Get to a Healthy, Equitable State

There are some key challenges to implementing a new, more equitable healthcare model. One challenge is knowledge-based. Healthcare information now encompasses a vast array of sources, and we must be discerning as to which information is reliable. Well-being of the future relies on a new foundation of long-term commitment to sharing trustworthy, accessible, and ready-to-use knowledge.

Another challenge is broadening the scope of healthcare from treatment to the preservation of good health. Making this shift requires a significant overhaul in the design of our existing health systems, which remain aimed at treatment once someone is already ill.

Further issues surrounding data also pose difficulties. Currently, health data is siloed in disaggregated systems. Emerging technologies are set to help, by supporting the continuous use of data across care and everyday settings. Yet this transition needs to be carefully managed. If data is to be shared, it must be done safely and securely to protect individuals’ privacy.

People Are at the Centre of Health and Well-being

The future of health and well-being is human-centric. That means focusing not on transactions but people: from the consumer and patient on the demand side, to the caregiver and healthcare provider on the supply side; encompassing every touchpoint across the journey. In this future, individuals hold the key to their unique path to health, supported by a holistic and nourishing ecosystem that fosters well-being.

Change Is Required by Individuals, Systems, Communities

To realize this vision across all life stages, individuals must take responsibility for their health and well-being, making a life-long commitment to a continuous effort. However, the individual needs support and guidance. Implementing the blueprint requires the orchestration of diverse systems, shared values and vibrant communities. All of society’s stakeholders must interact, collaborate and provide support, if we are going to make a change.

On the individual level, each person needs to do more than simply hope for a healthy life. It takes concrete action to make health and well-being an integral part of one’s lifestyle. Advances in science and technology are making these steps more achievable. The payoff is more time spent being healthy and happy, and less time spent healing or in an assisted condition.

On a second level, we need robust, human-friendly systems. To support individuals and their healthier lifestyles, these systems should be blended and united, rather than siloed and fragmented. They should look beyond the cure to understand the cause. In so doing, they should share and embody core ethical values that strengthen the community and individuals they serve.

The third sphere of action involves communities. Everyone belongs to several, all of which will play a role in accelerating the shift towards human-centric health and well-being. As we propose structural changes, their support is vital. These changes will engage families, work teams, neighbourhoods, and other physical and virtual social connections.

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A Roadmap to Empower the Future of Healthcare

We can look to a future of healthcare in which maintaining and promoting people’s general well-being is a more prominent aim for society. Through a concerted and collaborative effort that includes the right application of technology, we can continue to advance and build on the collective learnings from the pandemic to evolve our approach to health and well-being.

The roadmap to a healthier future is built on four stages that help overcome current challenges, while leveraging digital transformation and innovative technology to catalyze and enable change:

  • Human By Design: Putting the person at the centre of all decision making is the first step to human-friendly health and well-being. As people seek new ways to learn about and take responsibility for their health, they need the right support. This means shifting from a system-centric to user-centric mindset and remembering that the user is a human. It also means enabling ethical, resilient, respectful and transparent experiences at each touchpoint, for care recipient and caregiver. New technologies play an important role in enabling a "human by design" approach.
  • Rebuilding Trust and Trustworthiness: Rebuilding trust and creating trustworthiness starts with data. The rate of growth in health-related data collection continues to accelerate. When leveraged and optimized, health data produces remarkable, even life-saving insights that promise to prevent— rather than just prescribe—changing the game in healthcare and improving our overall well-being. Doing so requires new levels of trust and trustworthiness among all players, including individuals, healthcare providers, insurers, pharmaceutical companies, public health and any entity that touches or handles data.
  • Improving the Health of ‘Me’: A new paradigm that focuses on the individual “me” requires a new way of thinking. Traditional healthcare organizations will play a key role in this transformation, along with life sciences and research organizations, start-ups, community and faith-based organizations, retail outlets and all businesses that value their employees and customers. Empowering individuals to make proactive decisions and improve their own health outcomes, this new model advances more personalized and precise care (across medications, procedures, facilities and more), envisions not only prevention but also proactive intervention, and aims for ubiquity to reflect better the realities of those it serves.
  • Creating a Digital Ecosystem: Healthcare organizations need to create a secure digital ecosystem that extends across traditional systems. With the right safeguards, it could also interface with communities, employers and government agencies; as well as adjacent industries like life sciences and pharma. A seamless digital fabric entails interoperable systems and collaboration by channelling the appropriate technologies, platforms and processes. Working together across every part of society, it would enable business, clinical and human-centric outcomes and power the future of health and well-being.
Lisa Esch Lisa Esch Senior Vice-President, Chief Innovation Officer, Healthcare Provider,  NTT DATA Services

“The future of healthcare is focusing on what’s important to patients and their health and well-being journey. This requires building trust and transparency across the entire ecosystem through technology-enabled, proactive collaboration."

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