Future gazing articles can often be flippant in the assessments they make. Very few people care enough to trawl back through dated articles and pull up people for the often outrageous claims they made, meaning self-appointed prophets, mavens and gurus are able to spout unverified noise about how the future will look.

However, after reading Vinod Khosla’s recent article regarding the future of Health Care, I’ve been inspired to drop my opposition to the format for one very good reason: the future is nearly here. The next two decades will see a complete restructuring of the medical industry and profession; powered by the explosion in HealthTech advances we’re fortunate to be part of. Whilst the focus of this debate is often firmly fixed on how technology will change, little consideration is given to the changes in personnel that will undoubtedly occur at a senior level.

Here at Odgers Berndtson, we believe that organisations are only as good as those who lead them so read on for our future gazing on the nature of HealthTech boards in 20 years. (Remember – you heard it here first).

  1. The pace of change will continue to accelerate with companies and individuals having to be open to new ideas and disruptive technologies to remain competitive. Individuals with the ability to manage multiple projects whilst influencing and positively dealing with a wide and diverse group of stakeholders will be highly sought after

  2. Individuals and carers will take a more proactive stance on managing their own health (or those in their care) by utilising the latest wearables, apps, 3D printing techniques and intelligent clothing. These devices will interact with the Internet of Things and provide assistance with healthcare delivery with little human intervention. A detailed understanding of this convergent technology and an ability to take advantage of synergies as soon as they emerge will be a key skill in senior staff

  3. Adoption of new digital health technologies will be driven by patients, patient advocacy groups and informed individuals. Healthcare systems will have to change to manage a more insightful and engaged patient population. PR awareness and top class communication talents will be necessary to engage positively with these newly empowered stakeholders

  4. High growth businesses will have to think globally and will need generational, ethnic and gender diversity to understand and compete in this new world. Flexible working arrangements will become more accepted and portfolio/project workers will be at the forefront of this. For more on how this might affect your senior teams, read our previous blogs

  5. Collaborative and open source models will also become more refined, shaping the companies who lead the sector. Boards in turn will have to become highly adept at navigating the best course through these new business models, leveraging the best aspects and avoiding the pitfalls. Flexibility and openness to change will be needed from the C-suite

So there you have it, our first (and probably only) future-gazing article. Did we miss anything out? Do you feel that as a digital health leader you already possess these skill sets and will be looking to build in other areas?

Chris Hamilton

Chris is the Head of the Life Science Practice in the UK. He was previously a Partner in the Global Healthcare Practice where he led many of the most complex and challenging leadership searches acr...

Insights