As part of this effort, governments will need to explicitly support incentives that promote wellness and greater health participation in younger generations, especially baby boomers, millennials and Generation X.
Separately, regulators will have to work at the speed of business, developing policies that adapt with changing technologies to encourage innovations. Finally, industry players must come together to combine products and services in novel, scalable platform offerings that meet the needs of individuals in real life.
The four pillars of wellness infrastructure
1. Metrics for healthy aging
Only by better defining what is meant by health will it be possible to build consensus about what constitutes improvement. New solutions must be able to deliver a mutually agreed upon improved outcome if governments and payers will support its use in the marketplace.
2. Data in new combinations
New mobile technologies that monitor key biological metrics may spark radical, positive changes in consumer behavior. Going forward, it will be critical to combine genetic and proteomic data with information collected from wearables, environmental sensors and social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook to better define both the risk of a given disease and its onset.
3. Aligned incentives
Seizing the upside of healthy aging means aligning incentives for a broad “win” even though public and private entities are motivated by different objectives and timelines. One of the key ingredients to rapid progress may be alliance structures that allow different stakeholders to enter — and leave — partnerships at pre-arranged and mutually beneficial time points.
4. A shared purpose
If healthy aging solutions are only accessible to the wealthiest individuals in the developed world, they are neither “healthy” nor truly “solutions.” Part of the shared purpose must be a recognition that healthy aging is a basic right, as opposed to a luxury good.
The silver lining to this demographic disruption
Tremendous innovation is happening as a result of this profound demographic change. Over the next 3 to 5 years, there is an opportunity to integrate what have traditionally been bespoke, siloed solutions into broader platform-based offerings that combine multiple technologies and skill sets.
Aging may be inevitable. How we age is not.