A recent article on the website of the World Economic Forum discussed the potential of  2017 being the year that healthcare goes sci-fi. What stood out to us, as a medical communications agency, is that the Philips Future Health Index found that 30% of less developed economies feel more comfortable with using connected technologies than 49% of their developed counterparts.

We’re talking technologies that improve clinical quality and efficiency of care, indeed being used by many already, but still considerably underused by developed countries to be scaled to successful models.

In western economies these technologies have the power to fix the funding problem and the dilemma of the tipped scale from curing illness to managing long term conditions. They can help bring all the world’s intel together to make giant leaps forward; to seamlessly connect caregiver and patient or carer.

But what’s holding us back in the west? Fear. The risks are seen as bigger than the opportunities, the barriers bigger than the potential rewards. There are worries about rocking the boat, about the unknown – such as a lack of understanding of data flows and data security amongst HCPs. And more than anything, worries about delivering incremental stakeholder value, which a technology that cheaply delivers better healthcare to the masses might not achieve.

Fear creates inertia, prevents change, stifles creativity and entrepreneurism. Whereas in parts of the world where there isn’t an advanced healthcare system in place which is accessible to the masses, it’s not a threat at all, but pure opportunity – nothing to lose.

From the perspective of a medical communications agency, we think it would be good if 2017 was the year of being brave.

“Remote and infrequent access to healthcare leads populations to find new and highly innovative routes around the problem by leveraging ubiquitous mobile infrastructure.”