Barriers to Shifting from Treatment to Prevention

One element of our vision for health in 2040 is that there has been a shift in focus from sick care to preventative medicine.

What are the barriers to getting us there?

@yuanluo, it would be great to get your input on this! I believe you’re the top preventative medicine expert in our Community.

@nylapirani and @Elena_Milova, your expertise in the root causes of aging could also be relevant to this discussion. Please feel free to weigh in!

Once we understand the barriers, we can ideate breakthroughs and eventually prize ideas in the next phases of Global Visioneering.

CC @JameyEdwards, @jkprivateoffice

Hi @ajchenx and @Nvargas2 - We would love to hear your thoughts on the barriers faced when shifting focus from sick care to preventive care?

Hi @jonc101, @nastyahaut and @dollendorf - Given your vast experience in this field, you might have some thoughts on the key barriers faced when shifting focus from sick care to preventive care.

Hi @darlenedamm and @TinaWoods - We would love to hear your thoughts on the barriers faced when shifting focus from sick care to preventive care?

This is a system change issue- policymakers, scientists, business leaders, public sector and the general public need to align around different govt priorities, funding, business models and attitudes. Most of the barriers are cultural - with organisations not wanting to change the status quo!

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Hi @ymazhar and @dalminana,
Being investor and founders of health firm, what do you foresee as the key barriers to shifting focus from sick care to preventive care?

Hi @Shashi - I wish there was a way for people to understand their health status at any given moment. For example, how could we help a person who lives in a polluted city understand how in real time, the pollution might be impacting their lungs, risk for stroke, etc. Or how could we help a person understand the impact of their diet or exercise? I think wealthy people might be able to pay for certain tests, but is there a way we could lower the cost and make it easy for anyone to be able to “see” how their actions over time impact their health? Another idea might be to help policymakers see the “full costs” of their decisions by seeing the impact on public health. For example, if someone plans to pave a new road in a city, could they get an instant report on public health impact? For example, pollution on nearby apartment buildings, dangers to school children crossing the street, etc, and what are the actual financial costs over time?


Hi @mhackett and @SArora - What is your take on the barriers faced when shifting focus from sick care to preventive care?

@Shashi the US health system has traditionally emphasized care and treatment rather than prevention. An important reason for this imbalance has been the “fee for service” model which preferentially incentivizes treatment over prevention.

Programs to support patient education, prevention of disease, such as diet, exercise, smoking cessation, and weight management are insufficiently funded. Also the healthcare system disproportionately values the work of physicians and does not adequately support the work of the prevention workforce (nurses and community health workers).


Thanks @SArora for sharing your thoughts. All good points.

Absolutely! It goes to the way our healthcare systems are designed. Insurance, for example, covering treatment but not prevention. Or healthcare providers being trained to cure diseases instead of helping people live healthier.

That is changing. Here in the Netherlands, insurance companies do cover some forms of prevention and family doctors advise patients on how to eat and live better. Maybe that’s the sort of gradual change we need to get to a point in 2040 where the balance has shifted in favor of prevention? Or do we need more radical change? And, if so, what would that look like?

@Longebility and @adampowell, you may be able to weigh in on this from an insurance perspective.

@riyamehta9001, I remember you were very interested in emerging health technologies. Can you recommend potential breakthroughs to shift healthcare systems from treatment to prevention? Or any other related breakthroughs - please share them here!

@arshimehboob, you may also be interested in this discussion!

Thank You @NickOttens Nick, will review and share insights

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I think this discussion touches on three of our four prize sketches for health:

Please let us know your feedback there!

100% agree and here is my response on the health topic

Exactly- new tool for early identification of disease is critical for prevention. This is true and cancer and it is also true and Alzheimer’s disease.

The question is:
1)what are the new technologies that can help with early disease identification
2) How can early ID enable prevention (Lifestyle ) or treatment (eg Pharmacological+)

The question is can new tools and technologies play a pivotal role here in prevention . Can it make it faster, easier and better.

As a simple for instance can one use an App and a camera to take a picture of a mole/blotch along with questions, coupled with a deep learning cloud algorithm, to Identify very easily people at high risk of skin cancer. (I’m not doing this and maybe it has already been done but just giving an example).

Use technologies such as digital healthcare and deep learning to change the Heath landscape, Making it easier and more accessible to all people.

Team goals should be highly targeted so that impact can be measured and evaluated.

I think an interesting question that Nick raises is who is motivated for preventive care. In the case above how is billing handled? Is this through government support or is it through the private healthcare provider, Etc. I am curious to hear peoples thoughts here.