Fast Company Impact Council health predictions for 2022

The quest for health equity—when every person has access to quality care and wellness resources—will be a key theme in 2022, according to health executives and experts on  the Fast Company Impact Council—an invitation-only collective of leaders from a range of industries. Members shared their insights on the imperative for the healthcare industry to become more inclusive—and how employers would need to think more expansively about the kinds of care it offers workers. Edited excerpts follow:

Melinda Richter, global head, Johnson & Johnson Innovation (JLABS)

“The future is about health security, health empowerment, and health equity. Our whole infrastructure has not been set up to detect diseases quickly, to understand what’s going on in population, how to readily assemble the system to get to [them]. We are also seeing that people need to be able to get care in their own homes, and we’re going to need more health services and more health data to be able to manage our own health—and certainly security and ethics is a huge piece of that. We’ve seen with COVID-19 a disparate impact on impoverished communities, on underrepresented communities. And the only way we’re going to protect ourselves in the future is if we make sure everybody has [access to] innovations.”

Stacey Stewart, president and CEO, March of Dimes

“I predict that we will be talking into next year and beyond about the long-term effects of what we’re experiencing right now. We tend to focus right now on deaths and cases of the pandemic we are at absolutely not talking about long term effects on mental health, especially for women. And, and I think companies and government will have to be coming together in a different way to talk about a different approach to mental health this country.”

Jennifer Tescher, president, CEO, and founder, Financial Health Network

“We need to be connecting the dots between people’s physical health, their mental health and their financial health. We know that the stress caused by financial challenge can actually cause cellular damage and illness. We know that illness can lead to bills that catch people, and ultimately can send them into bankruptcy. It’s not just about sharing risk among the parties. It’s also about connecting up the various benefits and programs that are ultimately going to make a difference in people’s lives and thinking holistically about them.”

Bryony Winn, president, Anthem Health Solutions

“Health becomes everybody’s business. CEOs and executive teams have made a whole bunch of decisions this year around who’s allowed in offices, what they have to wear and what kind of their vaccines or treatments do you have before you’re allowed to go there. And I think this is going to continue. We will see a rise in chief health officers, in non-health care companies, as we think about health broadly. Health belongs to everybody.”

Jennifer Gottlieb, global president, Real Chemistry

“My prediction for 2022 is that the business of healthcare will continue to be digitally transformed. We have seen digital transformation in healthcare fast forward 10 years—we wouldn’t have seen that had the pandemic not happened. This ranges from clinical trials becoming more virtual and telehealth coming of age. I hope we will see is a focus on the elderly population as it relates to digital, and work has to be done for underserved populations, whether that’s socioeconomic or based on racial disparities, related to telehealth and related to digital health.”