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Envisioning the Future of Health: Key Takeaways from MANOVA

Over the past 15 years, we’ve partnered with health care leaders who are working to solve some of the industry’s toughest challenges. So when the first-ever MANOVA Global Summit on the Future of Health was hosted in Minneapolis, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to attend.

Determined to answer some of the biggest questions in health care, thought leaders in business, technology, consumer marketing, academia and government explored how we can shift from a reactive approach to a preventive one. How we can ensure everyone has access to quality care at an affordable price. And how data and new technologies can be used to enable better health and drive patient engagement. Here are a few key takeaways:

Physicians Are Struggling1

Shifts in the health care system have put significant pressure on physicians, who find themselves tasked with more administrative duties, more data entry requirements and far less time for patient care. They’re also struggling with information overload, both from the medical knowledge available and from all the data they can access. This scenario has led to unfilled positions and startling burnout. In fact, physicians are two to four times more likely to die of suicide than the general public.

Loneliness Is a Serious Risk2

People who feel lonely are more likely to die from cardiovascular disease, cancer, respiratory illness and gastrointestinal causes.3 In fact, insufficient social connection is a bigger risk factor for premature death than obesity – and the equivalent of smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day.4 It’s important to note, however, that being around people doesn’t necessarily solve this issue: People can have a large social circle but still feel lonely. These findings have led some people within the medical community to consider loneliness a disease, not just a set of circumstances.

Empathy Matters5

Studies have shown that patients have better outcomes if they feel connection and empathy from physicians. And, to be healthy, people need to have tolerance for others. Yet there’s a tolerance issue on both sides of the physician/patient relationship, and the fact that physicians don’t represent the diversity of the U.S. contributes to it. The good news is that medical schools are beginning to train on empathy, helping providers build it as a skill.

New Ideas Continue to Emerge

No health care summit would be complete without a discussion of emerging trends and technologies, and we definitely heard some new lingo.

  • Precision medicine6 – Also called personalized medicine or individualized medicine, this customized approach tailors decisions and treatments to individuals in every way possible.
  • Pharmacogenomics7 (PGx) – A combination of pharmacology (the science of drugs) and genomics (the study of genes and their functions), PGx studies how individuals’ genes impact their response to drugs.
  • Software as a medical device6 (SaMD) – SaMD performs medical tasks without being part of hardware. For example, anesthesiologists could look at a dashboard that uses advanced algorithms to monitor and make recommendations based on multiple patient-specific data points, much like autopilot on a plane.
  • Prescription software8 – Also called digital therapeutics, prescriptive software uses online health technologies to drive behavioral and lifestyle changes. Physicians can use these tools – often in the form of apps – to treat medical or psychological conditions.
  • Phygital9 – A recently coined term, phygital refers to the mindset of Gen Z, which feels comfortable in and does not draw a distinction between the physical and digital worlds.

How can these emerging technologies and trends help drive better health engagement? And how can we tackle the greater issues of physician burnout, loneliness and lack of empathy? Our research team is always interested in helping find the answers. Reach out anytime if you’d like to continue the conversation.

  1.  Josh McHugh, Attention Span Media; Michael Pitt, MD, U of MN, Pediatrics.
  2. Andy Slavitt, Former Administrator, CMS and Founder, United States of Care.
  3. Julianne Holt-Lunstad.
  4. Jennifer Latson, March 2018 Psychology Today.
  5. Robert Brook, MD, RAND Corporation; Michael Pitt, MD, U of MN, Pediatrics.
  6. David Perry, Indigo Health & Better Therapeutics; James Mault, MD, Cquentia.
  7. James Mault, MD, Cquentia; Aneesh Chopra, Former CTO, United States & CareJourney.
  8. David Perry, Indigo Health & Better Therapeutics; NightWare.
  9. David Stillman, Gen Z @ Work; Penny Wheeler MD (CEO, Allina Health); Lesley Solomon (SVP & Chief Innovation Officer, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute); Susan Turney MD (CEO, Marshfield Clinic Health System); Arianna Huffington, Thrive Global.

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