Who Is the Futurist In Your Practice?

By Kathryn Ruscitto, Advisor
Friday, June 18, 2021

Definition: “A person who studies the future and makes predictions about it based on current trends.” —Oxford English Dictionary

We have been so occupied with managing how to get through the COVID-19 crisis, have we continued to spend time thinking about the future?

Healthcare providers demonstrated their agility during the past year in repositioning many services.

Practices rapidly incorporated telemedicine and the technology to support access during this time. Are you planning how to restructure access using this approach for chronic care, follow- up care and general questions? What is your strategy to incorporate new technology building on telemedicine?

Kathryn Ruscitto, Advisor

Every practice needs a futurist — or everyone in the practice needs a futurist mindset. Your futurists should be reading cutting- edge newsletters, attending conferences, especially easy now when virtual, and looking for the best models and tools. Are you led by vendors, or are you driving your future?

While no one can predict exactly when technology will take us to the next level, we can see what’s coming: artificial intelligence, virtual reality, companion robots, augmented reality, wearables, genome sequencing, nano technology, robotics and 3D printing. There is already a medical “Tricorder” in testing. A COVID-19 vaccine was developed in remarkable time. What are the implications for vaccines or other pharmacological treatment for viruses or disease from Lyme to asthma, and what impact will that have on your practice?

Marina Gorbis, in Five Principles for Thinking Like a Futurist, says,“Future thinking is not about predicting the future but rather it’s about engaging people in thinking deeply about complex issues, imagining new possibilities, connecting signals into larger patterns, connecting the past, present and future, and making better choices today.”

COVID-19 also brought more attention to home-based care. The use of technology and home care to deliver services may accelerate care models developed to deliver more care in the home setting. Home care growth has accelerated by 15% and this market is expanding rapidly. How are you considering collaborating with home delivered care?

Once you have identified the natural futurist in your practice, how do they stay current on topics ranging from discipline-related associations and conferences, to futurist resources, blogs and social media, to listening and watching your patients? A good example right now is wearables. Has your practice looked at how to use wearables with chronic care patients?

We have so many ways to treat injury and illness, yet most of the online websites for practices do not incorporate wellness and maintaining health information. How will we use technology to link the health experience across time, place and discipline, incorporating wellness and illness?

Many systems and large practices have added strategic positions focused on adapting new technology, quality and treatment algorithms and are well positioned for integrating new technology. Thinking through the options from innovations to new collaborations helps you be prepared whatever the future brings.

Kathryn Ruscitto, Advisor can be reached on LinkedIn at Kathrynruscitto or at krusct@gmail.com.


  1. Harvard Business, hbr.org/2019/07/how-to-do-strategic-planning-like-a-futurist
  2. Health Future, healthfuture.org/about-us/company-profile/
  3. Medical Futurist, medicalfuturist.com/ten-ways-technology-changing-healthcare/
  4. Unique perspectives Medium.com
  5. World Futures Society, worldfuture.org/
  6. Medical Futurist, medicalfuturist.com/ten-ways-technology-changing-healthcare/