The Piper Jaffray Heartland Summit is an exclusive annual gathering of CEOs, policy-makers and investors representing every major sector within healthcare. This year’s event featured panel discussions with many of the healthcare industry’s most prominent leaders weighing in on the biggest topics shaping healthcare. Bob Bradway kicked off the summit and spoke about the growing demand for healthcare globally and the opportunities and challenges this demand is creating.
“Will there be a greater demand for cars in 20 years? Or for oil? Or even for our beloved iPhones?” Bob asked. “I don’t know. Will there be a greater demand for healthcare in 20 years? Absolutely. The demographic trends are irrefutable – an aging population around the world, a rapidly growing global middle class, increased urbanization.”
Bob said these demographic trends will lead to a dramatic rise in serious illnesses like cancer and heart disease – and a corresponding growth in demand for innovative solutions to help people suffering from these illnesses live longer, healthier lives.
The challenge, he said, is “whether and how society will pay for the innovative healthcare solutions that are so desperately needed – today and even more so in the future.”
To address this challenge, Bob said that healthcare systems around the world need to move from “fixing what is broken to predicting who is at risk of a serious health event and intervening to prevent that event from occurring in the first place.”
The power of a healthcare system oriented around prediction and prevention, he added, is that it puts what’s best for patients at the center of the conversation – not cost.
“None of us would want to experience any of these life-changing health challenges, even if we had access to innovations that could fix us once we were broken,” Bob said. “I hope that all of us would rather see resources allocated to predicting and preventing serious health problems, rather than waiting until something breaks and then sparing no expense to fix it.”