Implications for Healthcare in Post-Reform America

As the 80-million strong baby boom migrates to the second half of life, the impact on healthcare will be dramatic. In our “post-healthcare reform world”, communications, service, and marketing approaches that worked with traditional older customers will fall short with the New Mature Consumer.

While we are living longer and better than ever, we are simultaneously heading toward a future in which chronic disease, frailty, and a variety of long-term health problems will be pervasive. From mass dementia and the caregiving crisis to intergenerational equity and “Geriassic Park,” we are heading into uncharted ground. As our 50+ population grows by 10,000 per day, and the 65+ grows from 40 million today to 70 million by 2030, our emphasis on community-based care services will need to grow dramatically. These consumers will be both “sick and well.”

Healthcare is on a collision course that will redefine the industry. Healthcare leaders must prepare for the events that have converged to create healthcare’s “Perfect Storm”. Five defining healthcare trends:

  • The Impact of Healthcare Reform and the Economy – Somebody pushed the “reset” button on life as we know it. Healthcare reform has resulted in unprecedented social division and distrust. The economic events of the last few years have permanently changed the social, political, financial and HC landscape and the dust has not settled yet.
  • The Demise of the Patriarchal System – Just as Americans have had to assume the burden of financing their retirement, they are now confronted with the additional burden of financing an ever-increasing portion of their family’s healthcare.
  • The Healthcare Cost Explosion – Healthcare is currently nearly 16% of the GNP, and nothing we do will prevent it from reaching 20% in the years ahead. The challenge is: how will we prevent it from reaching 25%?
  • 80 million “New Mature Consumers” – 80 million baby boomers are entering their high-utilization years with unprecedented service demands, a redefinition of quality, and little in common with the previous generations’ “reverential” approach to their healthcare providers.
  • Technology and the Impact of Genomics – Advances in technology are a familiar story in healthcare. But when combined with breakthroughs in biotechnology, we find ourselves in uncharted territory. From the revolution in genomic medicine and advances in medical devices to new diagnostic tools and treatments, technology will explode – all in a context of unprecedented media scrutiny and bioethical concerns.

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