Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Millennials and the New Health Revolution

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Preventative Health is Best Thought of When You Don’t Have to Think About It

An apple a day keeps the doctor away. Unfortunately paying tribute to this age old adage in practice can be a lot more difficult for most of us than it sounds. Our healthcare system could be better described as a great sick care system, with only a fraction of resources focusing on preventative health measures. 

But here come the Millennials who will infuse new life into the wellness and preventative care sphere, and will be the first cohort fully immersed in real time health monitoring. From disrupting the boundaries of traditional health and forcing stakeholders to rethink healthcare delivery, Millennials are also shifting the notion of preventive health and what it means to be healthy. For them, health inextricably goes beyond weight loss or avoiding a visit to the clinic. It’s about emotional wellbeing and leading a balanced lifestyle and perhaps more fundamentally, it’s about everyday decisions. These perceptions are rooted in an utter dissatisfaction for the healthcare system we have today-inefficient, expensive and impersonalized. Part of the new appeal for wellness is anchored in watching their elders, from diagnosis to treatment, traverse an often cumbersome, paternalistic, and choice limited healthcare journey.

We talk about the shift towards delivering better patient experiences and outcomes in healthcare. The wearables market will underpin these value propositions, introducing real time health monitoring in almost every aspect of your daily life.  As the patient becomes more empowered with millions of personalized data points, getting patients to share data could be a barrier to effective implementation of real time monitoring. Thankfully, the Millennial generation is amenable to sharing, and that will include health experiences. Whether you choose to share with your clinician, friends, or family will lead to the emergence of a new health revolution where wellness is just as important as health. It’s more about searching for an enriching healthcare experience and switching life health coaches if you don’t like what you are dealt with.  

Wellness communities will emerge, led and followed on Twitter, Instagram and WhatsApp, including groups from stress reduction to yoga and mindfulness, and from nutrition to fitness challenges. This movement will also help establish social proof and lead to the more widespread adoption of preventative health as integral mantra of one’s lifestyle. Preventative health shouldn’t be extra work, and as wearables form a key layer in our personal space, more engagement in wellness activities will be as common. Deeper insight is great, but insight without lack of actionable context and behavioral change is almost as useful as having a car without an engine. The most successful health stakeholders in this new health revolution will be able to engage and induce behavioral change.

The traditional boundaries of healthcare are slowly eroding as millennials engage in new spheres of health engagement and where health will be projected onto everything you do. As the delivery of healthcare takes place more and more outside traditional institutions, the new social norm will shift towards the establishment of a reward system for the maintenance and promotion of health. Millennials are breathing new life into wellness and prevention, and new horizons for stakeholders interested in providing enriching health experiences await-are you ready?

About the Author: Aaron Sihota is an award winning pharmacy innovator and recently hosted a webinar for the ePharma Summit  discussing emerging healthcare trends and opportunities for healthcare provider engagement for a younger health consumer generation. He has a keen interest in the application of innovative solutions to address today’s healthcare issues and actively promotes community pharmacy practice initiatives. He is a recent graduate of the University Of British Columbia Faculty Of Pharmaceutical Sciences. 
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