Future of health – keynote speaker Ross Dawson on health industry trends

Ross Dawson is a globally recognized and highly acclaimed keynote speaker and futurist. He has delivered a variety of keynotes on the future of health and is considered an influential thought leader in this space.

Keynote speaker topic – The Global Health Economy: Today and Tomorrow


Health is occupying an ever-larger proportion of the economy. In the United States, health already accounts for 17% of GDP. Aging populations, increased expectations, more advanced—and expensive—treatments, and entrenched health industry structures mean costs will continue to rise. However, it remains possible to create far more effective and efficient systems. Personal health records, pro-active health measures, expertise networks, and robotic assistance are just some of the issues that will drive the future of health. Ross Dawson can lead your audience on an engaging futurist’s journey through where the health industry may go, and what actions today could drive a healthier society tomorrow.


Below are the slides from futurist Ross Dawson’s keynote on the Future of Health at Cerner Corporation’s Leadership Forum, which brings together a select group of senior executives from hospitals, healthcare and government. The keynote slides are designed to accompany the speech and are not intended to be useful on their own. However, they have been provided for illustrative purposes.

Five of Dawson’s key insights on the topic are summarized below:

1. The health industry has been largely immune to the price drivers of other industries

Health spending as a proportion of GDP is on a long-term uptrend in all developed economies. Many of the drivers of lower prices in other industries, such as supply chain efficiencies, globalization, transparency, and new entrants have had relatively little impact, largely due to the systemic nature of vested interest in the status quo. However, the pace of change in the structure of health economy is accelerating.

2. Some of the new forces at play in health are exponential drivers

Genomics is a branch of bioinformatics. This means that the pace of development of our knowledge of the human genome is proceeding at the same accelerating pace as information technologies. Just as it was difficult to predict the exponential growth and applications of bandwidth and computing power, it will be even harder to foresee the results of our increased ability to understand the genetic foundation of disease.

3. Costs are soaring on multiple fronts

Aging populations, stricter drug trials and regulation, increasing litigation, and rising insurance costs are just some of the long-term drivers of increasing health costs. In addition, there are many wild cards such as the potential for pandemics. Perhaps most importantly, increased expectations of quality of life will inevitably see spending on health occupy a greater proportion of our economy.

4. Efficiencies are being gleaned

Connectivity is driving greater efficiency in health, especially through the gradual shift to interoperability of Electronic Medical Records (EMR). Many sectors of the health economy are over a decade behind more automated industries. While change will remain painstaking, these shifts are accelerating. Other efficiencies can be gained through effective knowledge sharing, increased focus on prevention, remote doctors, robotics, and systems to support home care. Just as importantly, a more integrated health system will expand the range of cost-effective choices available in treatment.

5. There are myriad uncertainties about the future of the health economy

Health has one of the most uncertain futures of any industry today. There is no latitude for long-term forecasting because:

– health technologies are developing beyond our pace of understanding

– the system is so complex it has defied decades of efforts to change it

– there is the potential for new kinds of health risks (and wellness benefits) to emerge

– we may extend our lifespans even faster than we have to date

– there will be unpredictable social responses to significant changes in health.

Consequently, scenario planning is a more valid tool for strategy in this space than forecasting is.

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Every keynote speech by health futurist and keynote speaker Ross Dawson is fully tailored to the client, audience and situation. Energize your event with his inspirational presentations on the future of the health industry.

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