What does an aging boomer population mean for healthcare and in particular pharmaceutical manufacturers? With the first boomers turning 65 in 2011, we are set to see an unprecedented demand on the delivery of healthcare and aging-related services. Unlike boomers’ parents, this generation will demand a more transformative approach to healthcare. With patients taking a more proactive role in their health, coupled with the growing number of boomers 65+, the healthcare industry must start taking the appropriate steps now to ensure they are meeting the needs of this changing demographic.
There are four major implications that we expect to see as the number of boomers 65+ continue to grow. First, we will need to understand and deliver treatments new to this group. Pharma must develop new and innovative treatments that fit the unique needs of this segment.
Secondly, digital strategies must be tailored to this demographic. A recent Pew International report demonstrates this trend telling us the “use of social networks by people 50 and older grew 88% in the past year, and the number of users over 65 doubled.” Boomers are active participants in social networks and will expect information about their health to be available online.
Third, Pharma must play a larger role, expanding outside of just drug development, and become a leader in technology. In today’s world of big data, there is a huge opportunity for the healthcare industry to use technology to bring solutions to the hands of aging patients. Adopting the Passive Self Diagnosis or PSD, is the key to offering better health outcomes by reducing self-reported information about a disease state.
And Finally, Pharma must continue to support access to new treatments as boomers shift from private to government insurance. To ensure that boomers continue to have access to innovative new treatments that maximize the quality of life, this will require a realignment of focus from the traditional form of reimbursement. To ensure patients are still receiving the coverage they need, at a price they can reasonably afford, the healthcare industry will need to offer support for the most vulnerable seniors. This will take an open mind from Pharma and innovation in how to provide care.
Implications of an aging population are both challenges and opportunities to drive further innovation in delivering truly personalized medicine. To learn more, read this article by Martin O’Brien and Patrick Denton “The Aging Boomer Generation’s Implications for Pharma” in the February issue of PM360 Magazine.
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Contributing authors include: Patrick Denton