At some point in the future, we’re going to come out of recession. What’s almost certain is that the economic landscape will have changed. One of the changes is likely to be a major reduction in the size and strength of the financial services sector. There’s a strong possibility that it will not be the economic powerhouse that it has been over the previous decade. Which raises the question of what will take its place?
One of the candidates being talked about is healthcare. We are entering recession with a population that is ageing. Politicians are talking about the need to reform healthcare systems to cope with this demographic change, as well as with the rising levels of long term, chronic conditions within the population at large. In most of the Western world healthcare currently accounts for around 10% of GDP, rising to almost 20% in the US. It could be that heaIthcare will become the focus for the next major service development.
Over the next few weeks in the UK, conferences are taking place that look at the structure and needs of Assisted Living, as well as the funding that is available. These include a themed networking event at de Montfort University (which is free to attend) and an in-depth, two day conference run by the IET in London. In the same fortnight, at least three other smaller scale conferences are running at other venues in the UK. The interest level is definitely rising.
Healthcare needs to change and evolve. If innovators rise to the challenge we may see Assisted Living and eHealth move from their current position of “poor cousins” to become as mainstream and as important to our economies as other services have been in the past. I’ll be speaking and posting reports from these conferences to indicate the temperature. I hope to meet some of you there.