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Future of Health

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The healthcare industry could well be transformed by the power of information - with consumers challenging the role of medical experts. Web 2.0 has led to Health 2.0, a platform for user generated health content and the launch of 23AndMe has taken social networking to the genetic level. Some expect genetic information to go retail - DNA for sale - heralding the advent of the biocitizen, or health consumer activism. Previvors add a new twist to preventive medicine by undertaking medical action based on genetic risk.

Informed consumers challenge the role of physicians, who have long been in a powerful position as the keepers of knowledge. As increasing amounts of medical, genetic and personal data are crunched, computing power delivers more accurate and personalised diagnosis. What is left is providing the human factor, a role traditionally left to nurses. Could the medical profession reinvent itself? In the UK, medical professionals are still the most trusted group in society. And to make sense of large amounts of sensitive information, there is need for a secure and trusted navigator, as shown by current regulatory battles over direct-to-consumer DNA testing. Web 3.0 may hold the key to Health 3.0 - offering secure access and revaluing expert opinion.

This is part of Outsights 21 Drivers for the 21st Century ™, a future-orientated scan of the 21 key forces shaping this century.

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