Five themes shaping the future of healthcare.


If there is one thing we all care about, it’s our health and the health of our loved ones. Everyone’s goal is to stay healthy. So why is the current healthcare system designed for cure instead of prevention? A broader perspective is needed to create and deliver value that supports everyone’s health throughout their lives. It is time for a prescription to life instead of a lifetime of prescriptions. 

Let’s start with how health and well-being show up in our daily lives. Yes, that includes your life as well. Just picture the following situations.  

  • A single mom who wants to work on staying healthy, but who can’t find the time.  

  • A teenager with Type 1 diabetes, who must put their life on hold.  

  • You who witnesses the despair of a friend with vague health problems.  

  • Your family member turned out to be very ill but nobody noticed that something was wrong.  

  • Your colleague, who was physically cured but has a hard time getting their life back on track.  

  • A high-school kid who needs mental and/or social support that is not there.  

  • An old man in your neighborhood, who gets lonelier with the years. 

These situations sound familiar, don’t they? These examples are symptoms of a system that is broken, a system that is not fit for purpose anymore, as you might have read in our first article. The current healthcare system does not create the value people need to be and stay a healthy human-being and it does not always cure them in the best way possible when they are affected by a disease.  

The future of healthcare.

At Business Models Inc., we have been working with many innovative players in the healthcare sector. Innovators like yourself, that want to take the lead and drive change. Looking back as well as bringing together the shifts that we see now, we see five themes that we believe are fundamental building blocks for the future healthcare system:

  1. A holistic view of health. 

  2. You are in charge. 

  3. The Quantified Self. 

  4. Continuum of services. 

  5. Cross-sector collaboration. 

These overall themes are already shaping the future healthcare system. Let’s define these themes and look at some examples.  

Theme 1: A holistic view of health.

We should be looking at the whole person, not just their disease(s) and conditions. According to WebMD, “Holistic medicine is a form of healing that considers the whole person – physically, mentally, and socially – in the search for optimal health and wellness.”

Holistic medicine provides a broader perspective on health and well-being based on the following principles:

  • People have healing powers of their own. Simple Habit, for example, is a company that unlocks the power of daily meditation for busy people.

  • Patient and doctor work on healing as a team, looking at all aspects of a person’s life using a variety of healthcare practices. Like Oak Street, they team up with their patients and through their innovative care more, showing how mental health is integrated with primary care. Another example is Dignity Health, who believes in caring for the person instead of just treating the disease through holistic care.

  • Treatment is not just soothing the symptoms. It should be about fixing the cause of the condition.

Theme 2: You are in charge.

Besides being taken care of, we need to take care of ourselves. In other words: people should be in charge of their own health and well-being. To do so, you first have to be aware of your lifestyle. There are many ways to find health and happiness in our lives ourselves, by having the tools and skills needed to thrive in an uncertain and troubled world.

When you are in charge, you can decide for yourself which treatment – if any – fits your needs. To make this decision, you need to be well informed by your doctor, insurance and/or social circle to make a good judgement call. For example, in the Netherlands, patients can choose a health care provider and read experiences of other people on a national map. And many countries have the ‘Ask 3 Questions’ to improve patient-doctor communication. This results in getting the treatment that best fits your life and needs.

In the end, it comes down to this: more people truly taking charge of their health and well-being results in a healthier overall population. In the long-term, less people are affected by disease.

Theme 3: Quantified Self.

In order to ‘be in charge’, self-knowledge and health awareness are needed. This is where the Quantified Self (QS) comes in as an important theme within the future healthcare system. Quantified Self is about gaining self-knowledge by measuring ourselves.

Measuring ourselves might sound like stepping on a scale and wrapping tapeline around your waist, but those days are over. Today, lifestyle apps and engagement programs, like Fitbit Health Solutions and 23 and Me, support people to measure themselves, define their health goals and actively work on achieving them.

There is no lack of devices and services that help with tracking physical activity, caloric intake, sleep quality, posture, and other factors involved in personal well-being. The important thing here is to make sure that people can use them easily to improve their health and well-being.

Theme 4: A continuum of services.

In the best case, we do not need treatments. The basic need of people is to be and stay healthy and live life more fully. Of course, we need the best treatment available when we do get ill. It’s not about a quick fix, however. Healthcare providers, lifestyle and well-being companies should provide a continuum of services covering prevention, care, and cure:


1. Prevention.

A proactive approach to keep people healthy and prevent problems before they start. Cuba’s healthcare system is designed like this, with family doctors that perform annual health checks and oversee the health of those who live around the clinic.

2. Care.
3. Cure.

As you can see, this continuum is being developed as we speak. But there is one thing that would make this even a bigger and sustainable success: cross-sector collaboration.

Theme 5: Cross-sector collaboration.

Keeping people healthy and restoring health when required cannot be done by following the steps of the current system. To properly address this grand challenge, we need collaboration and innovation within the sector, and across sectors. Some interesting examples are:

  1. Headspace is on a mission to improve the health and happiness of the world, by teaching and coaching people to meditate. They provide subscriptions to individuals as well as complete mental health programs for companies. They partnered with Mattel, the toy company, to get children into mediation at a young age in a playful way.

  2. Food4Me project, funded by the European Commission, is a project that is researching personalized nutrition, including business and value creation models. Personalizing nutrition still is a tough cookie. To make food truly our medicine, many more partnerships are needed.

  3. Ariana Huffington founded Thrive Global in 2016, taking inspiration from her own collapse from sleep deprivation and exhaustion in 2007. Thrive offers an all-in-one platform to beat burnout, based on the latest insights from all scientific disciplines related to burnout.

Like the saying ‘if you want to go far, go together’, collaboration is what’s needed to keep moving forward. By bundling powers from different sectors, the future of health and well-being will shine as bright as the sun.

What's next?

As you can see, there are multiple approaches to deliver more value for the health and well-being of people. Even though healthcare is stuck in the current system, we see passionate healthcare professionals, startups, and corporate companies finding new and creative ways to do things differently in the health and well-being space. We have only scratched the surface related to these 5 themes. What are your plans to contribute to a human-centered healthcare system?

Are you ready to shape the future of health and well-being?

Download our playbook "3 business models designed for life-long health & well-being".