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News & Views

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  • 3 February 2020
  • Claire Pay

From nature to art galleries: thinking differently about healthcare

When you think of healthcare, do you think of medicines, or do you think of things like art, nature, food, clothing and tech?

“If we think about healthcare simply as ‘fixing you’, we’ve missed the point. We’re dealing with humans with preferences and needs, and healthcare is finally catching up.” This quote from Jason Wolf, President and CEO, The Beryl Institute (the global community of practice committed to elevating the human experience in healthcare), set the scene perfectly for Stylus’ breakfast briefing on The Healthcare Opportunity which we recently attended.

The briefing put a spotlight on the potential for brands across industries to help transform and democratise healthcare - exploring the trends in non-medical approaches to preventing and treating illness and changing consumer attitudes. This falls at a time - indeed the start of a new decade - when global healthcare spending is growing at an annual rate of 5.4% and could top $10 trillion by 2022[i]. Yet it’s also a time when 1 in 3 patients lack clear information about their condition[ii]and physical inactivity is responsible for one in six UK deaths.[iii] Opportunity aplenty for innovative solutions.

Prescribing health and wellness treatment is a good example of this. Doctors in Shetland can now prescribe nature to their patients in a programme which seeks to reduce blood pressure and anxiety amongst other things. Mount Sinai has partnered with Epicured meal delivery service offering a menu tailored to help patients in managing digestive diseases, and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts partnered with doctors so they can prescribe museum visits for patients to help address physical and mental ailments.

Meanwhile empowered patients are seeking clear and comprehensive health information delivered through online channels. Doctors, for example, are starting to use TikTok to talk to teenagers and young adults about health issues that matter to them. We saw this too in our recent Millennial Physician research, which revealed the desire of millennial GPs to harness power of tech to improve the patient doctor relationship.

Attitudes amongst patients are also changing. People are becoming more open about their stories, for example Selma Blair documenting her MS diagnosis on Instagram and working with brands such as Tommy Hilfiger on disability-friendly clothing. Millennials are bringing new views to healthcare, charting their own way, wanting to be listened to and wanting to collaborate on their treatment.

In terms of preventative healthcare, healthy mindsets are clearly permeating consumer consciousness – and informing daily choices about everything from food to fitness, beauty and personal care and even the environment. Indeed our own WellCare Economy trend report brings to life the impact of the Holista-health movement focusing on the link between inner and outer health and wellness and how unexpected innovation is enabling optimised selfcare.

Non-medical approaches to preventing and treating illness are clearly set to continue to grow apace, driven by creative and unexpected healthcare solutions and partnerships that will bring value to patients, healthcare professionals and health systems.

[i] Deloitte, 2019.Last accessed January 2020, available at:

[ii] Accenture, 2019. Last accessed January 2020, available at:

[iii] Public Health England. Last accessed January 2020, available at: