10 trends in the future of integrated care

What will the future of integrated care look like? We asked two experts: Jeroen Tas, chief innovation and strategy officer at Philips, and Mirella Minkman, director of innovation and research at Vilans. ‘The hospital of the future is a network.’  

Minkman: ‘We are living in a dynamic timeframe. Various organisations and trend watchers have tried to de-scribe and predict the future, and have published scenario and trend reports. Our Innovation & Research de-partment has reviewed these documents, checking for similar themes. Although we cannot predict the future exactly, understanding the dynamics of changes in society is important for healthcare. This has resulted in ten formulated trends.’

What are trends exactly?

Minkman: ‘We have defined these trends on 3 levels because sometimes they describe major societal changes and sometimes smaller examples. First, we consider a trend to be a change in values and needs, for example, values such as independence or safety. In addition, trends are driven by larger, underlying forces that are diffi-cult or too large to influence, such as digitisation. And finally, a trend is visible because it manifests itself, for example in citizens’ initiatives or a technological product such as a 3D printer. They show that a trend is ongo-ing.’

Compatible network society

An example of an ongoing trend can be seen in the control of care. For example, ‘you are in charge; care: how and where you want it.’ Also ‘focus on vitality’ is another trend. We will also see that life, work, leisure, care, and education are areas that will become more and more intertwined. Connectivity will be a key feature. Other trends are ‘more focus on sustainability’ and living in ‘a compatible network society’. By this we mean that everything, including services and health care, needs to be more connected with everything else. Services that are not compatible with each other, and which do not meet the different and multiple needs of people might not survive.’

Health problems do not work according to a calendar

Tas also emphasized the importance of care that is responsive to needs: ‘Care can be preventive if it is availa-ble 24/7.’ In addition, he said that the ‘appointment culture’ is reaching its end. ‘Health problems do not work according to the doctor’s calendar. For pain in the chest, a patient must first go to the doctor, then an ECG (electrocardiogram) is made, and if something is found, a separate appointment will be made by a cardiologist. Before you know it, 6 weeks have passed. While, there is already technology available that controls your heart, and which, if something goes wrong, provides contact with a cardiologist immediately with the touch of a but-ton. ‘

Using time zones

Technology will therefore ensure that care is moved from hospital to home, and can support the compatibility and interconnectivity which Minkman addressed. Tas: ‘The hospital concept is old-fashioned. It must become a network, and care must be provided where the people are located – in shopping centres, for example. Monitor-ing will also play an important role. Tas: ‘I know a care centre in Atlanta and a care centre in Georgia who monitor patients at night for one another because they are in different time zones.’

Better care experience

But above all, it is important to better understand people who need care. Tas: ‘So that they get a better care experience and a better treatment result. This also means that healthcare professionals are able to do their work with more pleasure.’

The 10 trends in care according to Mirella Minkman:

  • How and when you want it; you are in charge.
  • New communities; care where you need it.
  • Lifelong learning.
  • More focus on durability and sustainability.
  • Uncertainty about privacy.
  • Need for digital security.
  • Focus on vitality.
  • Questions about who determines ‘end of life’.
  • Modern solidarity.
  • Compatible network society.
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