Trends and visions in health and wellness

This blog is written based on an presentation given by Tuula Tiihonen from Sitra. She is a Senior Lead from Capacity of Renewal -unit of Sitra.

The sprint Tuesday got to a rocket start with an inspirational speech by Tuula Tiihonen from Sitra. Finns are familiar to Sitra and that they work in multiple sectors of the finnish society. In short, Sitra is working for a society with sustainable well-being for all. Sitra is also publishing content regarding megatrends and how do they affect our future and lives.

’A megatrend is a general direction of development, consisting of several phenomena, or a wide-ranging process of change’ – Mikko Dufva, Sitra (

Tuula gave us a tour of the phenomena and megatrends in the area of health and well-being. The trend of societies getting older and at the same time fever people born to carry the costs, is creating pressure to communities and social welfare. Tuula made the notion that due to these major issues, it is important to move from sick care towards more preventive health care measures.

                         ’ Move towards preventive care is important in the future’ -Tuula Tiihonen

This move is in full speed already and a lot of good initiatives are on the market already. Also the design sprint 2020 is welcomed by Tuula to bring more innovations to this sector which is in great change as we speak.

Megatrends affecting us

Tuula introduced us to the megatrends affecting us from the point of view of health and wellbeing.

  1. Growth of life expentancy
  2. Urbanization
  3. Challenges in public sector economy
  4. Digitalization and development of logistics
  5. Genome technology
  6. Individual health and wellbeing
  7. Hyperconnective society
  8. Robotics

On top of these trends increasing the cost burden of the public sector, they also mean a lot more.  For example the need for individual health services will increase in the future and also the value of human care will be valued.

Where we are now?

The Finnish start up community is doing al ot already. Great innovations are being born regularly to the sector of health and wellbeing. A key future trend is that the patient will be more involved in the treatment and the interest that people have in their own wellbeing is seen in the innovations as well. The patient has changed over the years. More and more this will be seen in services and products that combine self monitoring with healthcare providers.

A great service of Omaolo is a good example. A service incorporating the services of healthcare professionals into one and accessible whenever from where ever. Omaolo has pioneered in the use of data to create a holistic view of a persons health and how to utilize that in treatment virtually. The data is incorporated to other data about the patient to create a view of the health and for example to predict the possibility of heart or other conditions. Already now companies, such as Oura, have peoples motivation to monitor their recovery and sleep in the center of their product.

What can be seen in the future?

In can be said that we are on the verge of a 4th industrial revolution. The characteristics are big data, AI, robotics and technologies we have not even seen. According to research institute Forrester the penetration of mobile phones is high and people want to have more digital services. A fundamental change is this new era is that people have changed and that they want to get services in a new way. Many private sector health care providers are already having for example chat services and virtual appointments.

It is important to focus more on prevention and prediction in order to save money. How can we do that? A lof of great applications of technology are already in the market and more are innovated all the time. The big questions are that how do we leverage them to the maximum and at the same time maintain the human aspect and importance of peer support. Also, the ethical questions are to be taken into consideration.

Technology has already made it possible that the data from a persons heart rate monitor is in the disposal of the treating doctor. Applications to make the lives of elderly people living at home easier to monitor are also already in the market. How to predict the future care need based on data of what is happening now? These trends also increase the need for personalized services to accommodate individual needs.

Even the first digital medicine has received an FDI approval. This opens new possibilities to track individually through a mobile application that how is a certain medication working in a patients body.

A trend in the future may also be that we have virtual medical assistants, think about an Alexa that would be able to tell you how you feel and what measures you should take to keep yourself in good health!

Think about the patient first

Having the patient in the center of solutions is a key trend in the future. Technology is evolving in a pace that we have never seen, but the human aspect has to be kept as the priority. Omaolo is a good example of how to make technology serve the patient. No robotics can ever replace the human connection.

Thank you Tuula for an extremely inspiring speech for our teams!

Writer of the blog is Hanna Lumenkoski, an MBA student in Haaga-Helia. She is a facilitator in the Digital Wellbeing Sprint 2020 and holds a position in marketing in the sector of information management solutions. She is also immensly interested in improving customer experience and success of businesses through design thinking.

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