What will health tech mean for ordinary people in 2026?

We consult a panel of 17 experts to produce this new online report about the future of health tech

Based on feedback from 17 experts this new report addresses: the 11 factors likely to define health tech in 2026; how common under-the-skin implants will really be; and what will surprise us most about tech-enabled healthcare 10 years’ into the future…

Perhaps the most tragi-com film I’ve ever seen was shown in a dark room behind a red curtain at the “Splendour and Misery: Pictures of Prostitution, 1850-1910” exhibition at the Musée d'Orsay in Paris last autumn:

In this silent 19th century enactment of a government-driven public health mission for pre-coital soaping to prevent venereal disease, jerky footage showed the arriving punter, followed by the grinning lady doing some lengthy pantomime body-part sponging under a long white nighty. Historically mad and forlornly pornographic it left you wanting to holler back a 100 plus years: “That won’t help you!”

Visual records like this just go to show the phenomenal distance healthcare has come since the guesswork and supposition of our ancestors. Yet despite the decades our mentality has remained pretty consistent. There are certain understood precautions we can take to reduce our likelihood of illness. Then if we do get sick – albeit following some tentative Googling – we visit a doctor for diagnosis. And then hope treatment is available to us.

But will things still follow this old familiar pattern in a decade? Well, when we consulted a panel of 17 industry thought leaders to find out how technology would transform health for ordinary people by 2026 we discovered the single biggest change looks likely to be in mentality.

This different approach to healthcare can already be seen in reproductive health. Here, home pregnancy testing is the norm, smartphone apps are used to track fertility, by time of the month, and under-the-skin implants are routinely used for contraception. In short, people are happy to accept regular invasive procedures and proactively take their health into their own hands. 

 

To continue reading this article register now