What will the future of health and healthcare look like? In a series of blog posts by the World Economic Forum’s Strategic Foresight and Health teams, a number of leading voices will present their own visions for the future. Contributions are linked to the Scenarios for Sustainable Health Systems project, the Workplace Wellness Alliance and the Healthy Living Initiative. In the following post, Nicolaus Henke, Director of Global Healthcare Systems and Services Practice at McKinsey & Company, shares his perspective on the future of health.

The year is 2040. Healthcare is transformed through precision medicine. You hold your full genome and health data on your personal cloud store (along with your financial data, your travel preferences for digital transport and your social interaction data). More than two-thirds of the planet’s 10 billion people interact with the world with the help of a single personal device, which also runs our homes, drives our cars, manages our workplaces and bank accounts, and organizes our education and learning.

If you live in California, you are a member of White Medical, a regional doctor-led group. If you live in Leeds, you are a member of the NHS.net. Both of these are clinician groups looking after the care of entire populations. They employ health professionals, which you occasionally meet although rarely in person.

Both White Medical and NHS.net are using global knowledge brokers, such as Aravind Watson or Genosynergy to diagnose your health. You reflect back and remind yourself that this trend first started in the automotive industry 30 years ago, when cars still had steering wheels and human beings were drivers. You pulled your Renault into a local garage and the technician would not bother to inspect the engine, but would link the Renault diagnostic computer to your car’s and then only go on to fix things which the computer diagnostic found.

You are pleased that the precision of the automotive diagnostic has arrived in human health. After you wake, you brush your teeth, look in the mirror and glance at your personalized health dashboard, which sets your daily targets, such as the number of recommended steps you need to take that day. A nano-touch sensor next to your heart monitors you 24/7 and captures crucial diagnostic data. Micro-robots correct blockages in your arteries while also diagnosing rogue cells in real time. Seventy five percent of diagnoses, such as cancers, are made automatically based on algorithms; only the final 25% of what medicine now calls “fuzzy diagnoses” are symptom based.

You receive your healthcare through White Medical or NHS.net, partly delivered by carers in your city, and the remainder delivered via your personal device from anywhere in the world. Your chronically ill relatives enjoy the same, with implanted drug suspenders adjusting their dose to their personal health status, and monitoring by regular interactions with their Avatar case coach.

The algorithms linking genomic and health data are generated from protocols and intervention bundles produced by global knowledge brokers like Aravind Watson or Genosynergy and your local population managers, White Medical or NHS.net, are offering you a choice of them. Global knowledge managers are rewarded for improvements in life years and other outcomes per dollar spent and access to global health data through safe-haven informatics sites from health delivery organizations around the world.

Emphasis in medical education has shifted away from traditional science and clinical knowledge to learning and improving clinical management in an increasingly sophisticated, data-rich world. The brightest talent in medical schools now aspire to join global knowledge managers.

The success of health industry suppliers, like pharmaceutical and device manufacturers, is no longer measured on sales. They are held accountable for improvements in population health and must collaborate with White Medical and NHS.net to research new diseases, products and processes.

Governments have reformed their health care services to work with these new organizations using learnings from their past contributions to risk factors and poor healthcare delivery. OECD countries still struggle to fund equal access to all the new possible interventions for everyone, but citizens and health coaches are active shoppers for the most effective interventions, and are able to identify the right care and right provider based on high-quality data.

The age of precision medicine is rich in data, information and creativity. It is an age of “my health” customized to me – an age of better health and longer life for at least the richest two-thirds of the world’s population.

The Author: Nicolaus Henke is Director of Global Healthcare Systems and Services Practice at McKinsey & Company.

Image: A staff member lies on a hospital bed which uses embedded sensors at an exhibit in Singapore REUTERS/Vivek Prakash