Breakthrough Brands 2022:
How boutique health brands are serving a new generation
Whether it’s the advent of new modes of digital interactivity or the overhaul of the climate change fight, the aperture of change has widened, and we are re-examining, well, pretty much everything. And that includes the healthcare conundrum.
Health is fundamentally about taking care of people. And yet somewhere along the way the health industry forgot this core truth in search of a better bottom line. 80% of US adults in our survey feel that the healthcare system could use improvement and 73% of them are looking for a complete revamp. That is a staggering figure that points not only to the inherent flaws in the existing paradigm but a powerful demand for systemic change.
Our Breakthrough Brands are going back to healthcare’s roots—serving patients the way they deserve to be served. Redefining patient-centricity, Folx, Tia, Thirty Madison, and Nomi Health are reorientating the ways in which we think about patient experiences and journeys. If we are reexamining the ways we work, the ways we eat, the ways we travel, the ways we digitally operate, and so much more, why not reexamine the ways we operate health?
Rather than continuing a one-size-fits-all approach that has defined the sector for decades, health brands are beginning to recognize that patients deserve individualized care that benefits them with specificity. Targeting particular health segments of the population has allowed these brands to create thriving and engaged communities. Brands like Folx Health and Tia are delivering care to underserved patient groups (transgender and women’s health respectively), while Thirty Madison has invested in a collection of brands that target specific chronic conditions. These companies are helping overlooked populations feel heard, appreciated, and understood, while also aiming to lower costs and widen accessibility, a significant and long-lingering issue that has plagued the US healthcare system for decades. Our research with Vox Media shows that 42% of US adults spend more on healthcare than all other household expenses—an anomaly in the developed world. So it’s no surprise that bonafide challenger brands are gaining momentum.
Many of the brands we’ve selected are still nascent, but they are nonetheless signaling a changing of the guard. Patients, customers, providers, and other stakeholders are demanding more—more agility in innovation, more empathetic product design and services, more inclusion, more digital connectivity, more insight—because we all deserve more in a world that can deliver it.
But are these new brands adding more fragmentation and more complexity rather than solving for it? What is the ultimate agreed-upon and measurable mission across the industry? How will the old guard respond to these challenges—spinning off more focused businesses or focusing on the connective tissue between their businesses? The future of healthcare is going through seismic changes faster than ever. Only time will tell if the industry is prepared to meet our needs.