Okay you got me. The title is a little misleading. (Something misleading in healthcare? shocking). In fact, everyone is talking about it. They’re just not talking about the correlation.
Yes, the sexy side of healthcare is…
Wait for it…
Wellness. Yep. that’s right. Somewhat anticlimactic I know...but what do they have to do with each other? Well everything.
Wellness is the $4.5T global economy (which is more than half as large as GLOBAL healthcare spending) spanning fitness, beauty, wellness travel, and much more. You know, the Instagram influencer ridden world of essential oils, fitness models, and bum sunning ( Do yourself a favor and look it up. Turn off cookies.)
And here’s the thing. I’ve always wondered why the 2 were so disjointed. Haven’t you? I mean, let’s remember the graph I pointed out in the last newsletter, where we rank last in healthcare quality but first in highest cost? Yet millennials alone spend more on fitness than higher education??
If so many people are spending $$ on ‘wellness’, yet 6 in 10, yes 60% of Americans have 1 OR MORE chronic diseases...where is the gap here??
The gap is that the two industries make it hard, if not darn near impossible, for them to intersect and work together to a person’s benefit.
Why? Well, many people tout most of the wellness trends as witchery, but it doesn't matter. I say...have your way GOOP!
Because nothing matters except adherence. Many of those diets/programs/trends (not all, trust me, not all) work if people STICK to them. And that’s a huge problem in healthcare. Adherence.
Getting people to stay on the prescribed track.
What we (and the healthcare mega giants) must realize here, is wellness can be a tool for us when we see the whole picture.
That taking care of ourselves and participating in these wellness activities can essentially keep us healthy, in a fun in consumeristic way, thus lowering our risk exposure to costly chronic conditions down the road. <- THAT’S the bigger picture!
But this correlation might not be as prevalent because it’s sexy to see fitness models showing before and after’s but it’s definitely not sexy to review your benefit plan to know your exposure to healthcare service costs.
Wellness might be thought of as bougie, but it’s hitting a consumer angle that healthcare needs to learn.
That’s right. Guess what healthcare, it doesn’t matter how ‘bougie’ wellness is...you can learn a lot from them.
Like...they're not super stuffy working in offices debating about your future while you're waiting in the wings. They’re consumer centric, focused on listening to their target market (you) and making solutions based on what you want. Business. Boom. Consumerism. Boom. Target consumers, make it easy for them to shop and choose, educate them, know them and give them what they want.
And us as the people...we can learn a lot here too.
That you should have fun experimenting with what’s out there. (Obligatory disclaimer) This is not wellness advice. Talk to your doc first, but ultimately find something YOU like and enjoy that you can ADHERE to that will improve your wellness and ultimately your long term health.
And what I really want to get at, is the potential future. Hello, Marty McFly??
When they truly do integrate, imagine going to the doc, they spend 2 hours with you, they ultimately prescribe lifestyle changes that may include exercise, meditation, and a change in diet. That prescription is converted into a protocol for you to achieve on your own. You can integrate this directly with a fitness scheduler, go to your class, take the class which is covered by insurance, you get credit towards your premiums and ultimately are setting off a holistic ecosystem of your health and wellness…and your doc can support you every step of the way.
Sounds nice, right? It’s a long way coming but we’ll get there.
Thankfully there are some organizations that are trying to combine the two. The Global Wellness Institute for example has a ‘world free of chronic disease’ as their moonshot. While despite being a wellness focused organization, they created this to begin to bridge the gap between wellness and healthcare.
Another way we’re trying to bridge the gap, is through functional medicine. Functional medicine is “a systems biology–based approach that focuses on identifying and addressing the root cause of disease. Each symptom or differential diagnosis may be one of many contributing to an individual’s illness”. It’s a form of medicine focusing on lifestyle behaviors where the gap is beginning to be addressed. If you’re not familiar with this topic, never fear, there is WAY more to come here (rhyme intended).
Before I leave you let’s chat one final topic. I'm not hating on wellness. In fact, I love it, I'm a wellness nerd...AND a healthcare nerd. And one of my favorite topics of wellness to look at is: high performance habits.
It’s my belief these should be shared across all wellness companies AND bleed into healthcare. Having healthcare teach us things we can do to not just be ‘better’ but actually have OPTIMAL health...a future I dream of once Marty McFly puts me into the DeLorean again.
But essentially whether you’re an entrepreneur, a startup founder, high ranking c-suite professional, or just average joe like me, you can practice these habits to optimize your wellness, brain, focus and more, manage your stress and get your sh*t done in record time. Where do you find these? Ben Greenfield. Ben Angel. Lifehack. Brendon Brouchard. (we’ll get to many of these later while also delving into the alien world of biohacking <- don't worry if you don’t know what it is.)
And these things are sexy right? High performance habits? 3 buzzy key words overflowing with $ making potential and an audience that consumes them at every turn. Though it’s another world, underneath it all it is simply another way to improve your wellbeing and end up saving you time and money on future healthcare costs. And people will stick to these! So wouldn’t it be nice if your ‘wellness’ minded lifestyle activities and actions meant something in terms of your healthcare?!
And another final thing, the pandemic catalyzed consumer’s focus on health, wellness, prevention and their need for overall well being. That is something that is important to people now more than ever...the insane adoption of and pivot to at-home virtual fitness resources shows that. People’s focus didn’t turn to their ‘healthcare’ and understanding their benefits...it did however shift to telehealth (topic for NEXT time!)
Here’s a new fun part of the newsletter...my weekly recommended resources. For your reading pleasure, check these out. Feel free to reply back with your favorites or if you’ve tried any!
www.globalwellnessinstitute.com - my Go-to for all things global wellness industry. Trends, investments, information, resources, events, awesome things to try, and initiatives bridging the gap talked about here.
https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/pages/life-sciences-and-health-care/topics/health-care.html - if I had unlimited free time it would be spent reading the insights from consulting giant Deloitte. You can get deep insider information on the future of healthcare, what’s coming, your resources and more by delving through their repository.
www.goop.com - tread lightly here. Not everything is what it seems. Use your common sense but have fun.
www.welltodoglobal.com - more global wellness trends, big VC funds into wellness companies, fun news and events.
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To making healthcare sexy again,
LI: Nikki Cohn-Byrd