The Health Advice Hub Members are Professional Experts in the Field of New-Health who want to offer, learn and make a difference, in the evolving Health and Wellness paradigm of healing.
The World Health Organisation has estimated that the world will have 12.9 million fewer healthcare workers than it needs by 2035, up from 7.2 million in 2013.
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Healthcare is in an age of transformation, with new science, new technology, new funding models and newly empowered ‘Millennia” patients. They exhibit different behaviours, different triggers and different ambitions, which must be understood by ‘pill manufacturers”, if the true benefits of their progress are to be realised.
We, at the Health Advice Hub, look at the changes in society that are transforming physicians, and how we as a New-Health industry can best evolve to support stakeholders, improve outcomes, build brands and practises.
This new Millennia generation is challenging the status quo the world over. In Norway, they are called ‘Generation Serious’, in China they are referred to as ‘ken lao zu’, or “those who bite the old folks”, and in Japan they are called ‘nagara-zoku’, “the people who are always doing two things at once”, a term that could be seen as crediting their ability to multi-task or, more likely, criticising their lack of focus.
As digital natives, they have spent their lives in an ultra-connected world; for them, the web, social media and mobility are just part of the scenery. They were Googling at 10, using Facebook at 12, and have had a smart phone since they were 15; they’ve not lived through a digital revolution, for them it has simply been a digital evolution.
The millennial generation are defined by their attitudes, their behaviours and their ambitions, not only their date of birth. As Darwin, would suggest, they have evolved to meet the new environment. The question now remains, can we in the health industry follow suit?
New Science – New technology – New Patients – new Outcomes Focus
Millennials have had to adjust their habits throughout their digital lives, from dial-up to broadband to 4G and soon to 5G, Facebook statuses and tweets to selfies and SnapChat snaps. More than previous generations, they are open to change, existing in a constant state of beta with their digital tools and services of choice. Those that become a constant, such as Facebook, Amazon, Apple, etc. must themselves evolve and innovate. The services that don’t will burn brightly before fading away. It is this perpetual state of change that ensures that the behaviours and habits of millennials are fluid and dynamic, and that they are the chameleons of the digital world.
Their constant connectivity has increased their ability to multi-task; research has found that the average attention span has fallen to just 8 seconds. The same survey revealed that early adopters and heavy social media users front-load their attention and have more intermittent bursts of high attention.
93% of 16 to 24 year-olds have a social media profile, and they make much greater use of image and video-based services, being three times more likely to use SnapChat and twice as likely to use YouTube than adults in general, let alone the ‘Baby Boomers”.
This prolific use of social and instant messaging platforms is changing the very essence of how we communicate and how the medical profession should be communicating. Research by TalkTalk Mobile in 2016 found that emojis’ are the fastest growing language ever, with eight out of 10 people using the symbols and icons to communicate. The survey even revealed that 72% of 18 to 25-year-olds found it easier to put their feelings across using emojis than with words. This new visual language is key to engaging millennials in the Health world.
83% of millennials sleep with their cell phones. How dangerous this that?
Millennials don’t just rely on digital for entertainment and socialising, they learn and develop in the digital world. Dr Jack Kreindler states:
“This concept of libraries of books that were written based on research that took 5–10 years for scientists to publish, is not the reality of how disease and treatment works or indeed how knowledge is now shared.”
As a result, medical students now use online academic databases rather than textbooks in medical school libraries – not only does this suit their habits more, but also, the fast pace of research has made real-time databases a far superior source of current knowledge. Their online learning experience is far richer, through use of films, podcasts and remote one-to-one teaching.
New-HealthCare is a profession that relies on continuous education. With the increasing sophistication of virtual conferencing technology, the heightened expectation of New-Health Professionals, and their increased inclination for live and recorded new-Health education, we are seeing a transition to virtual conferencing.
One survey found that 40% of specialists are dissatisfied with physical meetings. Another survey revealed that 84% of physicians would prefer to attend CME (continuous medical education) events online. Those surveyed listed the benefits as the ability to view the content on-demand whilst avoiding the hassles and costs of travelling.
With professionals, able to retrieve so much data and information via a swipe of their smart phone, students may not need to learn so much by rote, and could instead spend more time developing the expertise as described by Dr Kreindler:
“We know more from the advertising industry about when to inspire and motivate people to make a change, than we do in medicine. And we need to harness that and learn from it, to make everyday practice on the wards better.”
Patients and healthcare professionals now have access to ever-increasing amounts of information, both from big data and from personal data. However, it is not the overwhelming amount of data that is important, it is how we use it.
“The next generation of medical students should be trained in what all these types of new data mean,” says Dr Jack Kreindler. “Taking data and making it quickly digestible by human beings – who in the end are still making decisions for other human beings – is going to be a big area of challenge.”
This will involve software like the CellQuicken, looking for patterns in patients’ data that preceded previous incidents of a disease, then watching for their re-appearance. Better use of patient data will also allow ongoing, trials of healing processes, learning from what works and what fails, Kreindler says, allowing personalised, precision healthcare. This will allow faster improvements, greater involvement of patients in their care and much-needed increases in productivity.
We are starting to see more and more examples of Millenniums coming up with great results from their entrepreneurial work. Chris Seaton, a former Royal Army Medical Corps captain, developed the Mersey Burns app while studying for a PhD. It automates the process of working out fluid levels for burns victims, which was previously calculated with pen and paper, and is one of the first medically-regulated phone apps in the UK.
Dr Zubin Damania produced a series of YouTube musical parodies as ZDoggMD and gave an April 2013 TEDMED talk that combined stand-up comedy with his problems with insurers, poor technology, and his fear of making a mistake that will kill a patient. He has founded Turntable Health, an innovative primary healthcare clinic in Las Vegas, funded by Zappos boss Tony Hsieh as part of the latter’s $350m Downtown regeneration project.
The clinic focuses on keeping members healthy, providing inclusive classes on yoga and nutrition.
Research by “Indigenus Network” found that 2% of Millennium Health Practitioners are currently involved in entrepreneurial activity and 31% aspire to it.
Dr Arrash Arya Yassaee says newly-qualified doctors want, “a far less linear career,” and that letting them look at issues facing organisations can make a difference. “We’re seeing a healthcare system that is facing pressures that its never had to deal with before. Looking at it from an armchair perspective isn’t particularly useful. We need people who have actually experienced it on the ground, like members of the Health Advice hub, and to not just have theoretical change but actually realise why things could practically be better and what needs to be done to empower that.”
In short, millennials have watched their parents struggle through tough global economic climates. They have grown up in a world where recessions claimed retirement funds, banks crashed and housing bubbles burst. This generation has witnessed global financial crashes on an unprecedented scale and they have been left to pick up the pieces. As a result, they have little trust in the traditional career path chosen by previous generations and doctors. The main question that now faces the millennial “entrepreneur” Doctor, is what problem should I solve? In New-healthcare, for the Millennium Health Care Doctors, there are many problems to choose from and we encouraged each one to solve them.
A generation to do good
The internet has dramatically changed the way we communicate and there are more opportunities than ever before for Health Care Practitioners to engage with patients. Kristian Webb commented:
“It was the inaccuracies in medical information online that worried me and I have a professional responsibility to put more accurate information out there. I found myself on these inaccurate websites and starting to comment.”
Since then, Kristian has seen his career progress at an enviable pace and has been presented with some incredible opportunities as a direct result of his online communications with patients and peers.
“I believe that the responsibility of providing accurate information falls with doctors and pharma and Vitamin companies. No-one knows their product like they do, so they obviously have a responsibility to start to educate and inform, not only to the patients that are already on their drugs but also to patients who are looking at their options,” says Kristian Webb.
In our Health Advice Hub, we offer the options of multiple treatment choices, and with the rise of the empowered patient, it means that our members are encouraged to find new patient-focused ways to compete and stay ahead. Beyond-the-pill services, patient support programmes and the like represent a well-trodden path, but the millennial patients of tomorrow are more demanding.
They require tailored treatment programmes that consider their lifestyle and work around them. Adherence is flipped on its head and the problem becomes reframed, from “How can we make a patient adhere to our treatment” to “How can our treatment adhere to this patient’s lifestyle”.
Consumers are fiercely loyal to the brands they like to consume. They see a brand’s values as an extension of their own. One study revealed that 64% of millennials are more brand-loyal than their parents. But what does this mean for healthcare?
Could the millennials’ brand loyalty be secured in healthcare by providing and supporting a seamless patient journey? If a patient feels so understood, supported and cared for by one health provider company’s approach, would they not want to go back to that same company when they have a different ailment requiring a different treatment?
Millennials are ambitious and they want to change the world for the better. They live in a world of transparency and value, ethically minded and socially conscious business models. In healthcare, this means our business should focus on treating the patient as a whole, rather than merely selling a vitamin. Not only is it the right thing to do, it is also the only sustainable business model in the millennial age.
Working together and sharing
Doximity and Sermo are healthcare professional’s social networks. Doximity is used by more than 60% of American physicians while Sermo is used by over 550,000 doctors in 24 countries; both are restricted to medical professionals and students. Are you using a social network to improve your knowledge?
There’s an app for most things these days, and Professor Andrew Campbell and his team at Dartmouth College are doing the groundwork for an app that can diagnose depression.
“StudentLife” was a 10-week trial in which 48 students had passive and automatic sensing data recorded from their phones to try to gauge their mental wellbeing. The prototype application took data from each phone’s microphone, accelerometer, light sensor and location sensor, and ran these data sets through a machine learning algorithm to find patterns in sleep, conversation and activity data.
“The big leap is yet to happen but we’ve made a great start,” says Professor Campbell. Campbell’s ultimate goal is to see a system that can not only detect your mental state automatically, but intervene where necessary. So, that if it notices someone isn’t sleeping enough or seeing many people, it can deliver some timely advice or book them in for a medical appointment.
In a recent interview with Forbes magazine, Dr Kevin Campbell, MD, FACC commented: “When I started using social media, I realised it was a powerful tool to communicate to patients, to other physicians, interact with scientists across the world, educate myself, educate others, and share ideas. I saw that, although many of the top-level executives in the Forbes 500 are on Twitter, few doctors are. I made it my mission to figure out why that was, and then to change the culture.” He then added, “Social media is a great way to support patients. Patients are already in cyberspace, and social media allows physicians to figure out what they are thinking, what they are doing, what we can do better to serve the patients’ needs.”
Millennials have grown up in a world of constant connectivity, with access to more information, more people and through more channels. They are no longer just witnesses to decisions and developments that will inevitably have an impact on their lives, they can now actively join in the debate and be heard. These new channels of communication present new opportunities for collaborative partnerships between companies and individuals. Together, their collective knowledge and shared experience will dramatically enhance products and services to improve outcomes.
We at The Health Advice Hub will be offering you advice to economically develop your practise by moving into the new age of technology.
Millennium Health Practitioners are a new breed, they present an incredible opportunity for our industry, pushing boundaries, and challenging conventions
In countries across the world, healthcare has greatly increased as a proportion of national economies, a trend which is clearly unsustainable but is continuing: PricewaterhouseCoopers estimates that US healthcare costs continue to increase at 2% above the general inflation rate. The South Africa increase in medicine was 5% in real terms last year while the inflation rate was another 7% for consumers. The rand is unstable causing the cost of imported medicines to rise even further. The price of private healthcare in South Africa (that services 16% of the population) has increased by 300% in the last 10 years, moving from R42bn in 2002 to R142bn in 2014.
At the same time, the pressures on healthcare continue to grow through increasing lifespans; while this is fantastic news for us as patients, it means we cost healthcare systems more across our lengthened lifetimes.
The demographic pressures that are partly responsible for driving the growth in demand for healthcare are also squeezing its supply, as in many countries the baby boomer healthcare professionals born in the 1940s and 1950s retire, exacerbating shortages of staff. The World Health Organisation has estimated that the world will have 12.9 million fewer healthcare workers than it needs by 2035, up from 7.2 million in 2013.
We at the Institution of Health Sciences and the Health Advice Hub, believe that through collaboration, new technology and new ambitions we can rethink the way healthcare is delivered not only locally, but globally, and so help to create a more sustainable, efficient and effective service for both doctors and patients.
Given the almost endless opportunities for instant gratification in our online world, it really is no surprise that two of the key defining characteristics of millennials is, ‘me, me, me’ and ‘now, now, now’.
But unlike the baby boomer’s generation, the millennial generation is different in that it is not necessarily defined by age. Instead it is best defined by a set of characteristics that reflect our connected world. If you are one of those people who expect to be able to access services and information anytime and anywhere then, in the view of the IOHS, you are a millennial.
There is a mismatch between millennials and our current healthcare systems. “With a smartphone in your hand you are constantly connected and constantly engaged. You can get things done at the touch of a button. But this doesn’t yet apply to healthcare.
Millennials want an instant medical opinion but the reality is, there isn’t the structure to support this.” Dr Shafi Ahmed, Consultant, Surgeon, and Co-founder of Medical Realities, sees this every day and is adapting his clinical practice to fit: “Patients often arrive having researched their disease, treatment options and even individual doctors. And these aren’t just 20-year-olds with cancer – they are 60 to 70-year-olds with access to the internet.”
The millennial healthcare professional and patient are best defined by their attitudes to technology and the opportunities it presents to develop and improve healthcare. For the millennial Health Care Practitioner, this is often about challenging mediocrity and traditional ways of working, to develop services that truly meet the needs of their patients.
Key learnings for the 'Generation Now' include:
- Increased collaboration between healthcare, the ‘pills” industry and technology companies is needed to accelerate the innovation and uptake of new approaches.
- We need to reduce and remove the barriers that are limiting innovations that will improve healthcare.
- We need to adapt and learn. We need to accept that change is happening and that the speed of this change is likely to accelerate as more new technologies appear.
As we progress and embrace new technologies, we must ensure that we don't leave patients or Heath Care Practitioners behind.
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