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One Perspective on Health Care’s Future

By January 19, 2011Commentary

CSC is a business process outsourcer and IT vendor for the health care industry.  It has released a paper in which it discusses the future of health care.  Called “Its Health, Then Care” the report suggests that wellness will be the focus in the future.  (Leading Edge Paper) The paper reiterates the well-worn theme that health care is becoming more proactive–focusing on wellness, prevention and earlier disease detection and that health care is moving away from physician-centricity to a team-based model.  The report touches upon a number of other common themes, like use of technology to empower patients, obesity and the impact of aging.

There is a lot of talk about disruptive technologies like the smartphone, remote monitoring and social networks; and how these technologies will get patients more involved and more of a partner with physicians and other health professionals in deciding the course of their health care.  Much of the discussion is also around technologies to keep people in their homes, to detect disease earlier and to provide new healing methods.

We don’t mean to be dismissive of the report; it does a good job of outlining a commonly held vision for the future of health care.  It does less of a good job in identifying why this vision hasn’t been implemented more quickly and why it might not become a future reality.  The fact is that in many ways the core problems of health care–lack of access, uneven quality, high levels of inappropriate care and high costs–seem at best to be improving in only very small ways.  There are powerful entrenched provider, payer and government interests that do well under the current system and don’t have a real interest in major changes.  Until those factors are addressed, don’t expect to see the future envisioned by the report become a reality.

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