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Joe Public 2030

Predict-O-Meter

Joe Public 2030 makes five bold predictions about that future, which range from exciting and promising to ominous and discouraging. Through the Predict-O-Meter, we’ll continuously assess the state of the healthcare industry to track the accuracy of the five predictions.

The Copernican Consumer

Constricted Consumerism

The Funnel Wars

Rise of Health Sects

Disparity Dystopia

Five potent predictions reshaping how consumers engage healthcare

The Copernican Consumer

STATUS:
Fall 2023 Update

What influenced our latest rating?

More movement on home health. More movement on monitoring. And much, much, much more movement on AI. All three of these are significant forces in moving consumers to the center of their health universe. But while AI is likely having the least impact today, it likely holds the most potential for future patients, and the potential for the most disruption in the healthcare sector.

Relevant news
Original Prediction

Consumers will become the center of their own health universe more than ever before, enabled by sensors, AI, and other technology, as well as services geared toward empowering them, leading to profound implications for both consumers and healthcare organizations. Potential results could include a dramatic reduction in the need for primary care clinicians, an entirely new sector devoted to personal health management, true precision medicine combined with health management, and more.

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Constricted Consumerism

STATUS:
Fall 2023 Update

What influenced our latest rating?

Our update is an “all-insurer” special, and for good reason. Despite the fact that Americans are paying more for their healthcare than in any other advanced nation, the cost keeps rising. Even with record profits in recent years, the large insurers are pushing some of the highest premium increases in years. This at the same time as more evidence emerges of unethical or illegal insurance practices. ProPublica issued a series on illegal denial of claims that has gone on for years, and both UnitedHealthcare and Cigna have been accused of using AI to wrongfully deny claims. On top of it all, there were reports that Humana and Cigna were in merger talks, a deal that would have resulted in creating a healthcare behemoth close in size to UnitedHealthcare or CVS/Aetna, according to industry expert Wendell Potter. (The deal has apparently been called off, but we shall see.)

Relevant news
Original Prediction

While consumers will become increasingly responsible for their own health and use of healthcare services, they will actually become less and less empowered in the choices they have for care, especially in higher-acuity, higher-cost situations. While many in the industry will continue to sing the praises of choice, the reality is most consumers will have far fewer choices moving forward, often in ways they might never ever consider or see.

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The Funnel Wars

STATUS:
Fall 2023 Update

What influenced our latest rating?

If you want to spur a passionate discussion on LinkedIn, just throw out an opinion on the impact of disruptors like Amazon, Walgreens or Apple on traditional healthcare. Wooo, the sparks do fly! We’re still convinced it’s not a question of if these organizations will disrupt healthcare, but when. And we still see 2030 as a fair marker for real change. Becker’s had a nice rundown of activity at mid-year, but maybe the biggest headline was Amazon’s announcement of their new primary care service for Amazon prime members in November. We still hear from providers who ask “who would choose a primary care doctor from Amazon?” Answer? See horse and buggy drivers circa 1910 – “Who would want to drive one of those automobile contraptions?”

Relevant news
Original Prediction

Today we tend to consider hospitals and health systems as birds of the same feather in terms of business model, with variances based on size, scope of services, for-profit/non-profit, and other factors. Moving forward, we could see the splitting of the health system model, with some systems moving even further to the larger, more comprehensive “health” organizations, others retracting into solely acute-care destinations – the “giant ICU on a hill” – and others somewhere in the middle. These models may emerge based on core geographic/market differences such as presence of competitors, plan consolidation/power, regulation, and dozens of other market forces. Yet the primary area where this transformation would play out is with health, wellness and the lower-acuity care points – what we’re calling The Funnel Wars.

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Rise of Health Sects

STATUS:
Fall 2023 Update

What influenced our latest rating?

We predicted there might be the rise of one or more politically oriented “health sects,” and now we can officially label the first: the “medical freedom” sect. We’ve referenced this before in our updates, but the movement has now has fully formed, with plans for the launch of clinics in Florida and an assault on childhood vaccines in Mississippi. And of course, the impact of Covid-19 is still reverberating, with some red-leaning states seeking to curb protections. Healthcare continues to face the influence of politics throughout the U.S., but some – such as the AMA – are taking a stand for the medical profession.

Relevant news
Original Prediction

Challenges to and skepticism of the mainstream medical field and science itself have exploded in the past two years because of the pandemic and political tribalism in the U.S. Anti-vaxxers, non-maskers and Covid deniers are just the start of an expansion of this distrust of experts, which taken to its potential end could result in multiple “health sects” – primary “schools” of medical thought that coalesce around political/world-views. Imagine “Mainstreamers,” who follow the establishment healthcare point of view, “Progressives” who follow minimal medical intervention combined with complementary and alternative medical solutions, and “Contrarians” who deny mainstream medical thought and create their own set of “alternative facts” on everything from vaccines to childbirth to end of life care, and everything in between. These sects will not only follow the medical thinking that best fits their world-view, they may in fact create their own reality through alternative research, diagnosis and treatment approaches, and models for the delivery of care itself.

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Disparity Dystopia

STATUS:
Fall 2023 Update

What influenced our latest rating?

According to a recently released NIH study, health disparities cost the U.S. more than $450 billion in 2018 alone. The dramatic impact on health caused by climate change is worsening. Many American families face an average of $20,000 a year in healthcare costs. Older Americans face increasing medical costs at the same time the industry suffers from a dramatic labor shortage, impacting access and the quality of care. Healthcare in the U.S continues to track way behind other nations, and the situation is worsening for those facing health disparities and inequities. Maybe the upcoming presidential election will change things? We’d give it a snowball’s chance…

Relevant news
Original Prediction

The Covid-19 pandemic shone an ugly light on the disparities that have plagued the U.S. healthcare system for decades. Unfortunately, that health gap is more likely than not to expand, as the “haves” gain access to increasingly more expensive medical treatments, health services, and personalized care, while the “have nots” will face growing shortages of basic health resources, from clean water and air to physicians and clinicians, rural healthcare, and more. This shift will be compounded by the mental health crisis, which disproportionately affects systemically disadvantaged populations and groups outside traditional healthcare access channels (teens, for example). All while those entities that might address these disparities increasingly struggle financially – health systems, health plans, state and federal governments – and others lack the incentives to focus on the growing issue.

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