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Globally, healthcare has predominantly focused on “sick care,” rather than health promotion and prevention. COVID-19 is changing the narrative. Health promotion is even more important now – to combat COVID-19 and to better respond and support the growing NCD (non-communicable diseases) “pandemic.”

Oliver Wyman, with input from Singapore’s Health Promotion Board (HPB), examines the shifts in Singapore’s citizens’ general healthcare, health, and wellness behaviours due to COVID-19. These behavioural changes, many of which are here to stay, expose and highlight key gaps and challenges faced in health promotion moving forward:

  • Unmet needs in less emphasised areas of health (mental wellbeing and infectious disease management)

  • “One-size-fits-all” approach is less effective in addressing segment specific needs and lifestyles

  • Limitations of offline channels for citizen reach and engagement

However, there is a silver lining from COVID-19 – COVID-19 has accelerated technology and digital adoption. There has been an increased use of digital health and technology across citizens and private and public sector. For example, consider that the global smartwatch industry observed a 20 percent growth in the first half 2020. In addition to this, technology has rapidly expanded use-cases, from COVID-19 detection to new digital health initiatives (for example, LumiHealth was launched in October 2020 – a first-of-its-kind personalised digital health programme developed by HPB and Apple).

Health promotion today vs The Way Forward
The closed-loop model anchored the three key principles

With good momentum of digital engagement coupled with a renewed need to focus on health promotion, now is an opportune time to rethink health promotion and the role of data and technology. In this report, Oliver Wyman defines three key principles that underpin the future of health promotion and proposes a "closed loop" model to support public authorities, including health promotion bodies, in designing and implementing effective evidence-based interventions, with data and technology at the heart of it.

This report was authored by Oliver Wyman and written with input from the Singapore Health Promotion Board.