Health, wellness and high-tech

Most people would expect technology to play a large role in the pharmacy and health and wellness industries. But the level of cutting-edge innovation actually far surpasses what might seem obvious, including embracing technology to connect with consumers more directly.

The pharmacy and health and wellness industries are actively harnessing new technologies to improve healthcare, and the future not only looks bright, but also beneficial to consumers and companies alike.

Here are some of the visions as seen by innovators in the industry, looking ahead to what we may see in retail stores by 2026:

Changes to the diagnostic landscape – The role of the retail store in primary care, rehabilitation, diagnosis and treatment will shift by the year 2026, and will include an “outcome-centered” healthcare payment system. This helps integrate communication between people and their caregivers, allowing for informed healthcare decisions and assessing options. 

Changes to the healthy living landscape – Consumers will be able to utilize their local retail store as a healthcare advisor when it comes to staying healthy and getting healthier. Wearable devices to track fitness, health and sleep cycles, and other portable communication devices, including proximity tools, will have a major impact on the future of one’s own health management, and how consumers interact with these devices will also change.  As we begin to link information generated by these devices with electronic health records, health care professionals and lifestyle coaches will be able to gain a more complete picture of the patient’s daily routine and be better able to work with these patients to maintain or improve a healthy lifestyle.

Changes to the retail environment – Consumers will be able to visit their nearby pharmacy and use an interactive kiosk located in the store to access product information, cost-savings promotions, rewards and coupons, instead of seeking it out prior to their store visit. Retailers are testing the use of beacons – an emerging technology – to communicate with individual customers while they are in the store – providing relevant information on new items, product suggestions and information, sales and promotions that they are interested in. Stores may also look different and become more entertaining.  How retailers embrace and adopt digital technology throughout the store will allow them to create experiences that on-line retailers cannot replicate.

Changes to the economic/logistics engine – Businesses will have access to new technologies that can make their inner workings more efficient.  Stores will create a more personalized retail environment to function as efficiently as possible.  By leveraging the information from loyalty cards, retailers will be better able to create a product selection for the people that shop in a specific store versus a store in the same chain a couple of miles away. 

As the retail and healthcare landscapes continue to evolve, we’re at an important juncture in how technology can play an integral role in bringing them together for the benefit of the consumer. In 2026, the world will undoubtedly look different, and most likely, even more connected. The pharmacy, health and wellness industries have a tremendous opportunity to combine technology and personal health to ensure our populace is as healthy as can be.

We have a lot to look forward to in the industry and we can’t wait to see how it all comes together.

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