Social Movement and Healthcare: How the world has shifted

When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be – Lao Tzu

The world and its economies are at the cusp of coming out of a metamorphosis!

Over the past decade, major social movements have been observed, which have picked up their pace recently, ready to reshape the world as we know it.

The way we do business, govern, work, collaborate, and employ will not remain the same given these social movements and changed dynamics. These waves of social shifts are not yet fully tangible to all – yet perceivable by everyone.

Just like what we might have learned during prior such tectonic shifts, there is a significant element of denial that exists in Government and Industry. However, Social Scientists and Economists are talking about it with appropriate analytical foundation!

From the kaleidoscope of Healthcare, three data points to note which perhaps are the most critical analytical observation determining the future of the business and governance around it –

  • As reported by multiple studies and approved by NIMH, “Relationship or Emotional Hunger” is the root cause for almost all the 6 Critical Medical conditions of the day. Analysis shows 60% of the households in 2019 in US/ UK/ Japan/ Germany has two or less permanent resident. The number was <15% in 1983.
  • In 2018 Harvard Medical School reported that the Half Life of medical science is 18 months. This means half of the knowledge from the medical school is not valid for the doctors in 1.5 years
  • Per a 2019 analysis, 21% of the final diagnosis is distinctly different from the first diagnosis and in 2/3rd (emphasizing 67%) cases the final diagnosis was significantly refined

The society had been observing this, analyzing this (academically or by experience), questioning it and now is ready to take the challenge in their own hands.

But where are these social movements rooting from?

The answer is technology and innovation, as always! It is making the world think about “anarchy” in its literal sense; which is the absence of power for the government driven by peer to peer collaboration — collaboration between creeds, cultures, and countries.

This article focuses on how these ongoing and very fast social movement driven by technology is reshaping the Healthcare Marketplace. It is an endeavor to reflect and regulate our thoughts and try to reshape our thinking about the upcoming business model in Healthcare.

Medicare: Life Expectancy and Working Age

Earth is going to face a massive population collapse over the next twenty years… this would be civilization’s way of dying with a whimper. – Elon Musk

The idea of the government and organizations to determine the age limits to work is getting battered by the social movement.

The life expectancy of the total population in the U.S. is expected to increase by about six years, from 77 years in 2010 to 83 in 2030. With such a rise in life expectancy, the working-age set by the government has a maximum potential to change and the people may not retire until incapable.

This is coupled with the decline in the rate of birth in developed countries. Take for example, in the U.S., a total of 3,613,647 births were registered in 2020, which is 4% less than in 2019. That will also force companies to engage in employing seniors to fill the gap(s) and minimize the effect on Medicare funds.

The openness shown by the 50 years+ age group to learn new technology and deploy it at work is extremely optimistic. Now that new learning coupled with this age group’s experience makes them the most formidable workforce. It is a whopping 28.3% of new online certifications that had been obtained by this age group over 2020-2021, challenging the prior notion of “Cognitive Biases” of Government and Industries.

The above data entails us to challenge the concept of retirement, which is anyway fading considerably; and when it happens, the government-sponsored (and enticed) concepts of Medicare will see a different light. The reason to fund and people to fund that will be a scarcity of the future.

Plans and Plan Sponsors: Work as We Know it

I took a deep breadth and listened to the old bray of my heart. I am, I am, I am. – Sylvia Plath

A true freedom of labor is in a very near vicinity where wellness and sustainability is most important. Perhaps the most distinct and deep one of the social movement (catalyzed by the pandemic) is in the search that beat of “I Am”!

A 2015 analysis shows, ~58% of employees chose an employer based on Healthcare and Social benefits.

Now let us for a moment visualize an Uber driver, renting out his home for Airbnb, working as a delivery executive via DoorDash, all while writing code over Upwork – each job for 2 hours on an average. Does this idea look far-fetched? Not to many.

Consider this data – 50% of the age group of > 45 years are expected to switch from “Employee to Freelancing” by 2030. In the wake of the gig economy, the employee-employer relationship will be changed, and the concept of work-from-office and the nine-to-five work will be history. The idea of one stable job is going to be a preposterous thought.

In such a work environment, either a company will not pay for the medical benefits or the employees will not need them. The idea of engaging employees via ethics, family or stability will disappear. Consequently, the plan sponsors will witness a challenge and will have to revise means to engage employees.

The above data is particularly leading to re-invent the Plan Sponsor business area of healthcare pertaining to the future of work itself.

Regulations: Why? And How of tomorrow!

Strangely visited people, All sworn and ulcerous, pitiful to the eye… Put on with holy prayers and ’tis spoken, the healing benediction. – Shakespeare in Macbeth

Now that royal touch taunted by Shakespeare has been taken over by the “New and Improved” government of today via regulations. These regulations are state, country or society driven—and something that is pushed on us for “good reasons”. It had been the state’s and economy’s process to regulate the lives of people by managing wills, contracts, marriages, and money!

Let us look at the silent but fast social movement driven by technology –

  • There is a drastic drop in marriages with only 16.3 new marriages for every 1,000 women aged 15 and over in the U.S., down from 17.6 in 2009.
  • Blockchain is already proving that with tokenization, the contracts and wills can be governed, authenticated, and certified without any “particular” state or organizational intervention. In fact, it drives better clarity, speed, and elimination of fraud
  • With digital payment modes available at our convenience, many of us don’t even carry banknotes in our wallets anymore. For instance, the Estonian payments market has reached an impressive advancement over the years with the electronic medium as the major mode of payments. More than 99% of bank payments are made electronically, with only 1% using non-electronic methods such as cash payments or paper-based payment orders.

In such a progressive scenario, the bureaucracy will be replaced with real-time transactions, processing, and payments beyond the regulatory complexity of states and governments. Hence, digitization and blockchain will eliminate the way governments have been regulating healthcare and the lives of people.

The very definition and existence of the current world “Payor” and “Benefits Manager” will be in question given the above changes. If the transaction, cost, and social collaboration are digitally recorded/validated without the boundaries of geography or regulation, healthcare will be seamless. The world of “Healthcare at your doorstep” is just waiting to be a reality. How can we think remodeling a Payor or a Benefits Manager is really a question?

Chronic Illness: The High Price of Possession

Every man (and woman) lives by exchanging, or has become in some measure a merchant, and the society itself grew to be what is properly a Commercial Society – Adam Smith

Possession is just the opposite of trust and sharing. The idea of possession is changing rapidly with Gen Z and onward given their experiences with the high price of possession when they were growing up. And this change is emerging through the model of Shared Economy. Backed by the power of technology, a sharing economy is challenging the governance structure of states and organizations.

The backbone of this economy is a trusted digital world where frauds are impossible, and the interference of government or enterprises is rather a burden.

This root-level change in living without possession has a direct effect on chronic health conditions. The urge for a Shared Economy in most part is driven by the Relationship Hunger that is a core issue for uncontrolled and increasing Chronic Illness.

The Netherlands presents a good case in point. A nursing home has designed a program to provide free accommodation to university students in exchange for 30 hours a month of their time “acting as neighbors” with the aged residents. The result – increase in life expectancy for 80% of the population, reduction of 25% getting in dementia or other age-related mental issues, and most importantly NONE – again NONE of these young adults got into addiction. All these are driven by one simple app.

With such a collaborative society where possession of the property is not pertinent, the demand for hospitals and paid caregivers will be less prevalent. And the appreciation of the root cause and remediation for Chronic Illness is in a defined corrective direction.

Food for Thought

Via whanaungatanga (connectedness), we all are Healers – Maori` Elders

The overall “game” in the healthcare industry is at the very brink of a dramatic shift almost eliminating geo-political and sociological boundaries.

The society is almost ready for a shift off from depending on Medicare impacting geo-political influences on lives. The society is ready to change the vision of the working age. The society have been ready for a while now to pivot out of employer negotiated health plans to lock them in. The society is tired of the big pharma driven “Health Economy”.

Commercial health insurance needs remodeling aligning to the shift with the social dynamics, while creating a niche for themselves. Alongside, as the peer-to-peer economy is emerging, the organizations and their service partners need to rethink ways to make themselves really technology and purpose driven – I mean TANGIBLY.

In fact, as we discuss these changing scenarios, futuristic solutions must be getting developed in someone’s garage. And as Uber proved once, Government will not be able to stop a social movement that is driven by technology – remember when CA State Government banned Uber – 800,000 new downloads happened in 1 day!!






5.      Reference Books:

  •  Life Force: Tony Robbins, Dr. Peter Diamandis and Dr. Bob Hariri
  • What Happened to you: Oprah Winfrey and Dr. Matt Perry
  • 2030: How Today’s Biggest Trends will collide and reshape the Future of Everything – Mauro F Guillen

Author Details

Manojit Sarkar

Manojit is in the Insurance and Healthcare industry for over 22 years. As part of the Infosys Client Services Group he is responsible to manage a business in the Healthcare vertical. Manojit has keen interests in continuous knowledge building to perform his job as a consultative leader that is driven by customer's success.

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