Announcing the May 2016 Issue I, Vol X Cover Story: The Future of Wellbeing Featured: In Pursuit of Longevity; Disrupting Aging; Mobilizing Education for Global Health; and more! Download the entire edition for free here or email us to order a hard copy of the book. Washington, DC: With the advent of new technologies such as artificial intelligence, sensors, robotics, 3D printing, big data, genomics, and stem cells there is no field more ripe for disruption today than the healthcare industry. We live in an age of major disruption. According to the Ollin Business School, most of today’s Fortune 500 companies will be gone in the next decade. And there is no field more disrupted than healthcare. And that’s a good thing. Doctors spend $210 billion per year on procedures that aren’t based on patient need, but fear of liability. Americans spend, on average, $8,915 per person on healthcare – more than any other country on the planet. Prescription drugs cost around 50% more in the U.S. than in other industrialized countries. And at this rate, by 2025, nearly ¼ of the US GDP will be spent on healthcare. As you can see, healthcare is massively broken and entrepreneurs are finding new ways every day to make you the CEO of your own health and to replace (and even eliminate) doctors and hospitals. How? Think about what happened to the libraries in the age of Google; or taxis in the age of Uber; or long-distance calling in the age of Skype. The list goes on. The good news? We are on the cusp of witnessing the biggest breakthroughs humanity has ever seen. And everyone is in on it. Last year at the United Nations annual General Assembly meetings, the world’s nations adopted a new set of goals for humanity, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). But the nations’ political leaders were not the only stakeholders—businesses, philanthropic institutions, media personalities, international NGOs, and a coalition of very diverse constituents have all vowed to pitch in to make it all happen. Goal 3 of the plan focuses on increasing life expectancy, reducing child and maternal mortality, increasing access to clean water and sanitation, and reducing the spread of diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis, and polio. The new Goal 3 aims to improve health systems, health research, and health financing. But there is more to health than the absence of disease. Some call it happiness. Others call it wellbeing. And others call it quality of life. And we all agree: this is not some elusive concept; it directly affects our performance at work. Having spent some time in the international policy arena as the editor-in-chief of Diplomatic Courier, the G7 and G20 Summit magazines, I have seen an interesting shift the past decade: world leaders have put at the top of policy agendas topics that used to be considered “soft”. These topics range from food security, nutrition, climate change, and education of girls, to healthcare and wellbeing. How did these issues top agendas that used to be riddled by “hard” geostrategic concerns? Having covered many of these meetings on the ground I have noted that increasingly, society at large now has a bigger voice and stake at these top-level summits. Importantly, this signals a new era for global engagement: the solutions to our world’s largest challenges will not come solely from the political sphere. Other actors are stepping in and in doing so they have filled leadership vacuums and created unprecedented opportunities for cross-sector collaboration. And we fundamentally agree: everyone wants to be happy. But what we have not figured out yet is how we should do it with policy, education, and community investment. When the discussion goes there, the question becomes: who will pay for all this innovation? My guess: probably not the consumer. Most likely it will be the insurance company, which makes a lot more money when we stay out of the hospital and live longer—so they can collect more fees and pay out less. But beyond the innovation, the future of health and wellbeing discussion centers on our elevated sense of purpose in life. Psychologist have found that people who have this tend to live longer and experience less physical infirmity. This also resonates with a recent trend called “primordial prevention”. While our healthcare has focused thus far on primary prevention—intervening before a disease is developed—or secondary prevention—trying to prevent progression of a disease when people are already sick—primordial prevention looks at prevention of the risk factors in the first place. And the best place to start is figuring out what allows people to attain and maintain health in the long term. And this is where wellbeing and happiness become the factor modern healthcare should begin with. Ana C. Rold is Editor-in-Chief and Founder of Diplomatic Courier.

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