by francine Hardaway on January 3, 2007

What will happen in 2007?

I’m a futurist, so I make predictions every day. It doesn’t take New Year’s to force me to think ahead. But since you asked…

1) We will move further, although slowly, toward electronic medical records. Both the Federal Government and a number of state governments, including Arizona, are trying to get there, and facing usability, privacy, and adoption issues. Everyone knows health care is along overdue for automation; I’ve written about it many times before. The technology exists to put your medical records on a smart card that you could carry in your wallet, which could be swiped in a doctor’s office to help you check in, make appointments, or give your history to a new specialist. But the pieces don’t (yet) fit together,and HIPAA makes that difficult. So do the providers of the EMR software, who seem to think that gray screens are all that doctors need.

2) Social media will become more mainstream. It is actually a good marketing tool in the best sense of marketing. The best sense of marketing, of course, is finding out what your customers need and supplying that need. Social media will slowly force marketers to stop foisting the wrong solution on us — like big cars when we need small ones. Go back a paragraph and you will understand that social media will also stop software developers from developing electronic health record software for doctors with lousy user interfaces. And it will stop doctors from refusing to change over. Social media, or use generated content, puts pressure on all product and service providers to provide WHAT THE MARKET ACTUALLY WANTS.

3) Mainstream media, (MSM) and especially TV will become more fragmented. If I look at what I am recording on my DVR, it’s specials on the Sundance Channel (“One Punk Under God”), series on FX (“Nip/Tuck” and now “Dirt”), the Daily Show and the Colbert Report on comedy Central, and whatever series is currently on over at HBO. In between, what else do I watch? I flip back and forth between CNN, CNBC, MSNBC and Fox News. What’s missing from this picture? Network TV. At best, I watch it for a half hour a day, at the evening news. And I’m not home in that time slot most days, and don’t consider it worth recording.

And what do I read for news? Google Reader, and about a hundred blog feeds from Huffington Post to Scripting News (for technies only). This is all the more remarkable as I am a member of the generation that is still supposed to be a mainstay of MSM.

4) Bush will put more troops into Iraq and the Democrats won’t have the guts to quit funding the war. More people will die, we will be more of a laughing stock, and nothing will change. Even the troops on the ground are no longer in favor of the war; a new Military Times poll says that only 13% of troops think we are doing the right thing.

5) The current frontrunners in the election races, Obama and Clinton, McCain, and Guiliani, will not be the frontrunners by the time of the conventions. No one can predict what issue will arise to unseat them, but something will. In marathons, there’s a phenomenon called peaking too early, and all these folks have done that. A presidential race is a marathon until the nominating convention, at which time it becomes a sprint.

6) Comfort food and the pet industry will continue to grow. As you look at the gathering clouds of global warming, Islamist terrorists, shortages of air traffic controllers, epidemics of cancer, pharmaceuticals that are discovered to have unintended consequences, confusion over what foods to eat to prevent heart disease or stroke, and new diseases you didn’t know you had (overactive bladder, ED, restless leg syndrome), it becomes much more compelling to climb into a bed with a golden retriever after a dinner of pork chops baked in sauerkraut and served with blackeyed peas.

technorati tags:, , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: