Global healthcare is set to transform in the coming decade or so due to a unique blend of clinical imperative, financial constraints and ever-increasing number of well-informed patients. Technology is the only answer for a population that is exponentially increasing with decreasing health budgets globally. With rise of constantly evolving and chronic diseases, medical practitioners, medicare providers and governments are looking towards technology to help provide the solution.
Consequently, healthcare is ideally poised to drive the change for smart technologies and innovation. From commonly available tech like smartwatches and smartphones to emerging trends like smart plasters, digital healthcare platforms are likely to be heart of this revolution. The possibilities are endless; acute data & insights will provide benefits to patients like nothing other.
More than the others, some trends are being identified as the next frontier of medical innovation. These healthcare platforms are set to disrupt the way doctor-patient-medical providers interaction, in the coming future.
Here are some of our predictions for the future of digital healthcare platforms:
Digital Health Interventions
Health interventions by means of digital monitoring is an idea that has been gaining traction for some time now. The idea is to track and enhance everything from sleep patterns to patient treatment. Digital interventions aim to enhance patient outcomes and empower patients by targeting health issues that are either acute or chronic in nature.
Health insurance companies have a lot to gain (or lose) in this industry. Success at digital health intervention means better treatment rates and reduction in patient readmissions. Venture wings of insurance companies are investing heavily in health interventions to make headway.
While the potential in this field has been recognized, a sizeable Return on Investment (ROI) can only be observed once platforms have sufficiently matured in terms on monitoring patient behaviour.
It should also be kept in mind that while digital health intervention industry is at the forefront of innovation in healthcare, it is not intended to replace or remove human interaction. Its job is to streamlines and improve patient engagement.
Big Data & Analytics
Big Data has potentially (and almost single handedly!) transformed the way companies look at patient data. It has allowed collection of data at such a mass scale that companies can now even model risk factors associated with certain types of patients or procedures. With this knowledge correct assumptions can be made on how likely a patient is to be readmitted or their estimated recovery time. This platform has the potential to change how we CARE for people.
Dynamic risk evaluation is now a reality, with big data becoming more reflective — and less like a static data set.
In the past, people used to evaluate a risk prior to intervention, ignoring the dynamics of the patient’s risk condition. Now, big data has enabled us to evaluate patient’s condition on run-time and make decisions based on changing conditions.
The opportunity in this space isn’t just to gather large sets of data and draw sweeping conclusions. It’s to be constantly re-stratifying risk levels, especially in scenarios of interventions or high-risk procedures.
Healthcare providers are under constant pressure to keep up with ever changing and increasing number of documentation. As a consequence their profit margins are squeezed due to less money per patient, per procedure and now more documentation per patient as well.
Doctors now treat patients while facing a computer in order to document tedious patient records. While this might necessitate efficiency, it is also bound to disrupt patient-doctor interaction. This holds true to most medicinal specialities where documentation and technology have become an effective obstacle to patient treatment.
Solutions in provider-centric space are now looking to minimize documentation workload and streamline documentation practices. This will free the doctors to give their full attention to their patients.
So far, providers are relying on scribes to record each interaction that happens between a doctor and patient. The solution, however, is an expensive one and not every provider can afford it.
One example of innovation in this field is a startup name Augmedix which is utilizing the technology of Google Glass. Doctors wear Google Glass allowing the startup to transfer the meeting details to a remote transcription center.
Augmedix takes on documentation and administrative tasks so that providers can focus on what they care about most—helping patients. This additional time allows for more patient visits and more quality time with each person.
However, there is still a significant gap between demand and supply for provider-centric solutions. How the industry will tackle the problem is something to watch out for in future.
A creative approach, yes, but as you can probably tell, this space is still largely undefined.
The healthcare ecosystem is evolving, with processes transforming completely. Digitization will become modus operandi as electronic medical records (EMRs) render records paperless and manage patient flow management.
Hospital inventory management, including the pharmaceutical products can get ordered without manual check at end-of-day as stock management gets digitized. Procurement and finances can all be set within a certain parametres, eliminating the need for human supervision and resources.
New Model Insurance Companies
One of the new trends, and one that has caught attention of quite a bit of venture capital funding, is new-model insurers. 2 companies in particular, Clover Health & Oscar, have raised a good amount of funding. Oscar has raised up to $725 million, since it was founded. Clover Health on the other hand has raised $425 million, securing funding from Google’s parent unit Alphabet Inc. Insurance focused startups have already raised $700 million this year. Most of the funding secured by these new model insurance companies have come from traditional insurers themselves.
Widespread dissatisfaction with Affordable Care Act (ACA) and contemporary insurers have forced people to think ‘differently’ about insurance. This leaves a big opening for tech-companies as VC firms and traditional insurers hope technology will be able to control costs and utilize technology to disrupt the industry in a positive way.
Now is an amazing time in the digital healthcare world because ‘all bets are off.’ If there are teams that are passionate enough about their product or solution, while having enough grasp on complexities of healthcare, they stand a (high) chance of success.