Translating Global Trends into Regional Economic Opportunity: The Pacific Northwest Looks at Older Baby Boomers, Health & Technological Innovation

TheMIT Enterprise Forum Northwest held Boomers, Technology & Health: Consumers Taking Charge in Seattle, Washington on January 19, 2011. The event examinedthe role of baby boomers in future technology innovation with a special focus onhealth.  The organizers did morethan an excellent job framing the event with speakers representing health providers, industry, technology developers and venture capital they prepareda research report based upon interviews with 50 industry and thought leaders tounderstand the barriers as well as opportunities for boomer-driven innovation.The report is one of the best summaries of the evolving role of baby boomers indriving innovation in health and wellness and well worth the read. 

The reportpresents five key findings:

1. Baby Boomers Will Play aKey Role in the Adoption of Personal Connected Health

Whywill baby boomers make a difference? Simply put, the baby boomers have moremoney, greater expectations and personal health as well as caregiving needs that willdrive demand for health and wellness innovations.

2. Personal Connected Healthis a Component and Enabler of a Paradigm Shift to Patient-centric Approach

Thebaby boomers are the leading edge and passionately vocal movement of consumersdemanding patient-centric care. With 67% of the boomers having one or morechronic diseases they will seek technologies and services to manage and monitortheir health - on their terms as consumers with demands, not simply as patients in need.

3. The Imminent Explosion ofPersonal Health Data Will Create Opportunities for EntrepreneurialProblem-solvers

Consumerdemand is only one part of innovation. Technology serves as inspiration and catalyst. The report observes that the readyavailability of new wireless, mobile and ubiquitous smart everything present anendless possibility of health devices and services.

4. Lasting Behavioral ChangeRequires Incentives and Social Support Mechanisms

Asnoted in other posts on, social media is not just for kids any more.The report authors aptly observe that Web 2.0 will be key in developing thesocial support necessary for healthy and lasting behaviors.

5. The Northwest has the Ingredientsfor the Creation of Personal Connected Health Business Ecosystem

TheMIT Enterprise Forum report identifies boomers, technology and health as an opportunity for the PacificNorthwest. As many regions around the world are beginning to recognize – agingis not simply a demographic reality but a possibility to create an industry todrive economic development.Regions that can blend a rich research base, venture capital, entrepreneurialspirit and have access to a test bed of creative health providers can create the new business ofold age benefitting their economies and the quality of life of everyone across the lifespan.

The report is a rich read for business strategists, investors and regions around the world Boomers, Technology & Health: Consumers Taking Charge

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