International summits are always a cagey affair. Beyond figuring out what exactly the entire gang of business and political plutocrats are actually doing there, the aftereffects are equally challenging to interpret. After all, these are not just high-level talks. They are extremely high-level talks. Sometimes, they are discussions about discussions. Getting practical results out of these types of meetings is a rarity.
Even so, this year’s agenda had a slightly different flavor owing to a number of health and wellness (HAW) topics covered at a level of detail the WEF had not seen in previous years. Whether it was celebrity meditation sessions, experiencing life inside of a refugee tent, or trying out a Jawbone fitness monitor, the Forum was not purely a discourse on global economic downturns and upswings this time.
While immediately actionable outcomes are harder to pinpoint coming out of this (or any) year’s Forum, the act of including these HAW topics is extremely telling and people have noticed. The economics of HAW are nothing to sneer at. Close to $20 trillion is at risk for the global economy in the coming decades due to mental health-based disability alone. More than a quarter billion people stand to be affected.
The implications of even these high level discussions on HAW topics is that decision-makers – irrespective of prior ignorance or engagement on these points – will now pull up a chair to the table and chime in, seeking results. In turn, the impact of the change in participation in the global HAW discussion has notable ramifications for healthcare leaders in the U.S.
In our whitepaper, “On Davos, Jawbones, and Goldie Hawn: A World Economic Forum Roundup for Health Leaders Who Couldn’t Make it,” we have identified these implications as well as the crucial next steps that healthcare leaders need to take to prepare for the quickly diffusing change in discourse on health economics, integrative medicine, and connected healthcare technology that is already underway.
Key points include:
- The importance of recognizing global pressures for more efficient healthcare delivery
- Whole-person health and its position in the new HAW discourse
- Preparing for connected health technologies in more tangible ways
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Taqee Khaled is a senior healthcare consultant with a background in public health epidemiology and biostatistics. He works in West Monroe Partners’ Minneapolis Office and is a member of the firm’s healthcare practice. He may be reached for comment at firstname.lastname@example.org.