From lifestyle to “healthstyle”

With every passing day, behavioural data will increasingly become the linchpin of medicine. This data will form the basis for the development of new, personalised treatments. It can also be used to create new tools to control and manage individual health.

Healthstyle
Photo by Rima Kruciene on Unsplash

This text is based on an excerpt from the study "Next Health" that can be downloaded from our website.

The long-term goal of the healthcare system appears to be clear, and to be recognised by all stakeholders: to provide a long and healthy life for everyone. Exactly how we can reach this goal and what the systems needed to reach it should look like are what divides the various stakeholders involved in the healthcare system. Because these stakeholders have different visions of the potential paths to the common goal and of the underlying complexity of the healthcare system, the system as a whole will not change completely. Instead, there will be significant, fundamental changes in individual elements of the system, known as “shifts”. These shifts will create new possibilities, new configurations and new relationships. One of these shifts is the ever-increasing obsession with tracking and measuring our bodies.

Behavioural change thanks to digital tools

In future, medication-based treatments will increasingly be backed up – or even replaced – by digital behavioural tools. For example, sleeping pills or antihypertensive medication could be prescribed along with an app that measures sleep.

Next Health Healthstyle shift

As people begin to attach more importance to prevention, the significance of a healthy lifestyle will come to the fore. People who read a book every week, go jogging regularly, brush their teeth every day for more than two minutes, drink only two coffees a day, and so on, will live longer. The results of many individual studies can now be linked and verified better than ever before, which makes it easier to measure what constitutes a healthy lifestyle.

“Healthstyle” encompasses all parts of life

Health awareness will gradually extend into more consumer areas, and thus become even more present in our lives. The wellness industry is currently ahead of the game in this respect: regulations are less strict in this sector, enabling it to normalise the tracking of all types of health data. People accustomed to monitoring their data regularly will soon expect automatic, real-time monitoring to be extended beyond things like sports shoes into areas such as the effectiveness of medication – for instance, antihypertensives. Treatment is therefore becoming digitalised for various physical and mental illnesses, a phenomenon known as “digital therapeutics”. One example of this trend is Sleepio: a prescription behavioural therapy for sleep disorders available from the App Store.

If we can use data to constantly monitor our bodies, we may discover abnormalities much earlier and be able to treat them sooner. There will be less need to visit the doctor, who can then place more of their focus on specialised treatments.