Skip to main content

The Future of Health

How innovation will blur traditional health care boundaries

The life sciences and health care industry is on the brink of large-scale disruption. In a future of health that’s defined by radically interoperable data, open yet secure platforms and consumer-driven care, what role will you play?

COVID-19 has revealed how vulnerable the health care industry is to change and its need for structural and technological transformation. In the future of health, we expect six key areas—data sharing, interoperability, equitable access, empowered consumers, behaviour change and scientific breakthrough—to collectively transform the existing health system from treatment-based reactionary care to prevention and well-being. The traditional boundaries of the industry will dissolve and new roles will emerge in the future of health as exponential innovation propels the industry towards 2040.

How will greater data connectivity and interoperability shape the future of health?


Fundamental shifts in innovation tend to occur in seven-year cycles. And while it’s possible to foresee what could happen over the next one or two cycles, looking ahead to 2040 (three cycles from now) will likely reveal a completely different reality than what we can comprehend today. What will emerge in the next 21 years that will dramatically reshape the life sciences and health care industry?

The 10 archetypes defining the health ecosystem of the future

These archetypes fall into three distinct, but interconnected, categories. Explore them below:

1. Data convener

Data-gathering organisations will have an economic model built around aggregating and storing individual, population, institutional and environmental data. They will also promote interoperability and help ensure privacy/security. Data will be used to drive the future of health.

2. Science and insights engine

Some organisations will likely have an economic model driven by their ability to derive insights and define the algorithms that power the future of health. These organisations will conduct research, develop analytical tools and generate data insights that go far beyond human capabilities in care delivery.

3. Data and platform infrastructure builder

This new world of health will need infrastructure and platforms that can serve highly empowered and engaged individuals in real time. Someone will need to lay the pipes. Data and platform infrastructure builders will develop and manage site-less health infrastructure to link consumers and health stakeholders and set standards for platform components.

4. Health product developer

Health product developers will power the consumer health ecosystem by developing and manufacturing wellness and care products-from applications to drugs and devices. The economic model of these organisations are driven by their ability to enable well-being and care delivery. While there will continue to be organisations that develop products, those products won’t be limited to pharmaceuticals and medical devices. They will also include software, applications and wellness products.

5. Consumer-centric health community

Along with companies that develop health products, other organisations will provide the structure that supports virtual communities. Consumer-centric health players will provide virtual, personalised wellness and care to consumers; leverage community to encourage behavior change; and drive consumer and caregiver education.

6. Specialty care operator

Two decades from now, we will still have disease, which means we will still need specialty care providers and highly specialised facilities where those patients can receive care. Specialty care operators will provide essential specialty care and interventions when in-home wellness and care efforts are insufficient.

7. Localised health hub

While there will be some specialty care, most health care will likely be delivered in localised health hubs. Localised health hubs will serve as centres for education, prevention and treatment in a retail setting. Additionally, local hubs will connect consumers to virtual, home and auxiliary wellness providers.

8. Connectors and intermediaries

These are the logistics providers that will run the just-in-time supply chain, facilitate device and medication procurement operations and get the product to the consumer.

9. Individualised financier

Unlike the health insurers of today, these organisations will create the financial products that individuals will use to navigate their care. These organisations will offer tailored modular and catastrophic care coverage packages. They will drive reductions in care costs by leveraging advanced risk models, consumer incentives and market power.

10. Regulator

Ee will still have regulators, we probably won’t view them as governmental traffic cops. They will set the standards for how business is transacted. The regulators of the future will influence policy to catalyse the future of health and drive innovation while promoting consumer and public safety.

2040: Our vision for the future of health

By 2040, health care as we know it today will no longer exist. There will be a fundamental shift from “health care” to “health.” And while disease will never be completely eliminated, through science, data and technology, we will be able to identify it earlier, intervene proactively and better understand its progression to help consumers more effectively and actively sustain their well-being. The future will be focussed on wellness and managed by companies that assume new roles to drive value in the transformed health ecosystem.

Driven by greater data connectivity; interoperable and open, secure platforms; and increasing consumer engagement, 10 archetypes are likely to emerge and will replace and redefine today’s traditional life sciences and health care roles to power the future of health. The 10 archetypes will fall into three distinct, but interconnected, categories:

  • Data and platforms: These archetypes will be the foundational infrastructure that form the backbone of tomorrow’s health ecosystem. They will generate the insights for decision making. Everything else will build off of the data and platforms that underpin consumer-driven health.
  • Well-being and care delivery: These archetypes will be the most health-focussed of the three groupings, made up of care facilities and health communities—both virtual and physical and will provide consumer-centric delivery of products, care, wellness and well-being.
  • Care enablement: These archetypes will be connectors, financers and regulators that help make the industry’s “engine” run.

All three components need to be fully functioning and integrated for the future of health to come to life.

Whether it’s just one or several of these archetypes, life sciences and health care organisations need to make choices now to decide which role(s) they want to play in the future. Critical to this decision is understanding how multiple archetypes could fit together into a cohesive strategy and new business models required for success in the future.

What role will you play in the future of health?

Did you find this useful?

Thanks for your feedback

If you would like to help improve further, please complete a 3-minute survey