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Personalised, proactive, preventive, and holistic ‘lifecare’ is set to be the future of health and wellbeing
If the science fiction writer William Gibson was correct in saying ‘the future is already here, but just not very evenly distributed’, then anyone with an interest in their health and wellbeing should consider ‘lifecare’ as the likely shape of things to come.
Personalised, proactive, and preventive, ‘lifecare’ is a holistic, ongoing process that focuses on achieving and maintaining physical health and mental wellbeing through diet, exercise and a range of complementary treatments, all intended to reduce the prospect of illness and disease. Whilst it might sound straightforward, it’s an idea with profound implications for every facet of the healthcare industry, from hospitals to health insurance.
In terms of healthcare trends between now and 2040, Deloitte – one of the ‘Big Four’ accounting firms – predicts dramatic disruption driven by “new business models, emerging technologies, and highly engaged consumers”, not to mention a fundamental shift in spending. “In 2019, about 80 per cent of health spending went toward care and treatment,” it says. “By 2040, we expect 60 per cent of spending will go toward improving health and well-being.”1
In many ways, Deloitte’s prediction is not a forecast but an observation of emergent trends that are already starting to mirror observable shifts in consumer and patient behaviour. Nowhere are these more visible than in the latest generation of state-of-the-art, multi-disciplinary clinics that are being built to service the needs of an increasingly informed, discerning and demanding clientele.
Located within walking distance of the Bank of England, Bupa’s Basinghall Clinic offers health assessments and private GP consultations and also operates as an out-patient diagnostic centre for Cromwell Hospital. In Mayfair, Lanserhof at The Arts Club adopts a subtly different approach by combining cutting-edge medical care with the luxury associated with one of the capital’s most prestigious private members’ clubs.
The new site for Bupa Austin Friars services, Basinghall Clinic exudes quiet, clinical efficiency and, fittingly for a facility that caters to the City’s financial services community, it specialises in assessing performance, most notably through Bupa’s Be.Ahead health assessment.
The two-and-a-half-hour health and wellbeing assessment, designed to support mental as well as physical wellbeing, includes up to 90 minutes with a health advisor and 60 minutes with a doctor, and consists of 14 core tests. These include a comprehensive real-time cholesterol profile, an HbA1c non-fasting blood sugar test for diabetes, a haemoglobin test for anaemia and a resting heart activity (ECG) test to check cardiac health. They are followed by an advanced fitness test involving a 15-minute session on a Wattbike, which measures the efficiency of heart and blood flow systems.
The initial Be.Ahead screening is followed by the collation of an extensive health report, the development of a personalised, 12-week training programme to help improve performance and fitness, 12 months’ access to online mental wellbeing programmes, follow-up coaching calls, and 24/7 phone access to a nurse for a year, through Bupa’s Anytime HealthLine.
Given the in-depth nature of the consultation, which can include breast examinations and cervical cancer screening tests for women and checks for testicular and prostate cancer in men, the whole assessment is delivered with a level of consideration, discretion, understanding and good humour that succeeds in putting even the most nervous participants at their ease. What’s more, if further action is needed, experts in orthopaedics, physiotherapy, dermatology, cardiology, rheumatology, osteopathy, pain management, spinal surgery, respiratory medicine and urology are all onsite for immediate consultation.
If the presence of a radiology, X-ray, ultrasound and mammography suite at Basinghall Clinic is reassuring, the existence of a full, state-of-the-art MRI suite, Spine Lab, Movement Lab and Cryo Chamber on the lower ground floor of Lanserhof at The Arts Club comes as rather more of a surprise, although it shouldn’t, given its medical leadership.
Sebastian Kunz, the medical director of Lanserhof at The Arts Club, is a highly experienced consultant orthopaedic and trauma surgeon who also specialises in acupuncture, sports medicine and biomechanical movement following years spent working alongside team doctors in the German Bundesliga.
Housed in the former Dover Street Market building directly opposite the members' club, Lanserhof at The Arts Club is the latest outpost of the exclusive Austrian Alpine health resort that specialises in exclusive retreats in Germany and Austria – the original of which, the Lanserhof Lans, is located in the Austrian Alps.
The Mayfair outpost delivers a by-appointment service as well as a members’ club offering that boasts what it says is London’s first and most high-tech medical gym; replete with VR machines and Technogym equipment with microchip technology that remembers everything about your workout. It also offers preventative medicine, rehabilitative care and nutritional advice alongside holistic wellbeing, yoga, and pilates, physiotherapy and osteopathy, massage, cryotherapy and intravenous vitamin infusions. In short, Lanserhof at The Arts Club says it delivers a form of ‘prehab’ rather than rehab with "medical precision".
Given the philosophy of the Basinghall Clinic and Lanserhof at The Arts Club, it should come as no surprise that a range of the clinical services of both is available to customers of Private Client by Bupa, a new private health insurance offering that has embraced the notion of ‘lifecare’ as its guiding principle. Focused on health and wellbeing as well as illness and treatment, the highly personalised, proactive and preventive offering is delivered through a concierge service to its Ultimate customers. In keeping with the transformational nature of a ‘lifecare’ perspective, the aim, says Bupa, isn’t to deal with claims, but to maximise the benefits available to clients while affording access to the finest medical expertise wherever it is to be found.
This article was featured online in the Financial Times’ ‘How to Spend It’ section in September 2021.
Private Client by Bupa is a premium service providing expertly curated health and wellbeing plans insured by Bupa Global.