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We are often too busy to have the time to take a step back and see what is going on around us. There are macroeconomic, demographic, social and climate trends that are going to have a major impact on how we support patients and consumers in the not-so-distant future.

Exploding Middle Class

The middle class is expected to more than double from 2013 to 2030 (1). This means more people will be able to afford healthcare, cars, non-essential food, travel vacations, etc… This presents significant revenue opportunities for many consumer products organizations and the chance to serve more patients in the healthcare industry. How will these organizations handle the increased volume of interactions with the new patients and consumers?

We are Getting Old

portion of population 60 years or older 1950 to 2050

By 2050, the number of people who are 60 or older will be greater than the number of people 15 or younger (2). Over 20% of the population will be 60+ years old.

Increased life expectancy with improved quality of life is great. I know that I am looking forward to a long, healthy life after retirement. But healthcare costs are already out of control and older citizens require more healthcare. How can this increased demand be supported more cost effectively?

Climate of Extremes

You can debate the effects of global warming, but the facts are that the numbers of natural disasters have tripled since 1980 (3). Large storms, flooding and extreme temperatures have wreaked havoc across the US, and across the globe. Extreme weather events cause injuries, interrupt services, disrupt supply chains, trigger service agreements and put people in situations that ultimately increase interactions with support resources. Can this volatile demand for support be supported?

Socialization of the People

If you are like me, you have just about had enough of the buzz about how social media is going to change the world. But the facts are that every minute of the day (4):

And research show that 47% of social media users engage in customer services via social media (5). Social media is just another interaction channel, but the challenge is that many times a common response goes from being a one-to-one to a one-to-many interaction. What are the best approaches to capitalize on this opportunity while minimizing risk?

Regardless of whether you view these macroeconomic, demographic, social and climate trends as opportunities or challenges, the task at hand is the same: scalable, flexible and cost effective solutions for supporting interactions with patients and consumers are required to meet increasing, volatile demand. Now that we know what the future will bring, let’s get back to work.

1. An Emerging Middle Class; 2. World Population Ageing: 1950-2050; 3. Managing the Risk of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptions; 4. 216 Social Media and Internet Statistics; 5. State of Social Media: The Social Media Report

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