The Future of the Internet in Health Care
The Future of the Internet in Health Care: Four Scenarios for 2005
The Internet has already changed health care substantially—and in the next few years it will bring much more change. Organizations and individuals from all parts of the industry need to prepare ourselves for these events. But the directions in which the Internet will propel health care are uncertain.
This report describes a powerful method for anticipating this uncertain future of the Internet in health care, and for preparing for it. The method is “scenario planning,” which enables us to construct flexible and diverse responses to our changing industry. In this report, you will find the results of scenario planning exercises that were developed during a conference conducted by the Institute for the Future to understand the future of the Internet in health care.
These scenarios are particularly valuable for their ability to deal with the uncertainty that characterizes the future. We use a method that allows us to “accept uncertainty, try to understand it, and make it part of our reasoning,” in the words of Pierre Wack, an internal planner from Shell. The futures contained here are expressed as stories, with plots, heroes, winners, and losers. By using them, we can work to build the futures that we want.