Healthcare innovation can change the way consumers buy and use health care, how we use technology to build and develop new products and treatments or otherwise improve care. New drugs, diagnostic methods, drug delivery systems and medical devices offer better treatment and care which is less costly, disruptive and painful. This empowers the patient who therefore has greater choice. Implanted sensors can assist patients in dealing with their disease more effectively for instance and many IT innovations can connect the patchwork of healthcare information on a patient stored across different organisations’ servers and consolidate the information to provide greater power to healthcare professionals.
Innovation can generate new business models particularly those that involve horizontal or vertical integration of separate health care organisations or activities.
Integrating many different fragments of manufacturing and service delivery in the healthcare sector offers opportunities to realise economies of scale and elevate convenience for consumers and patients.
The polio vaccine eliminated the need for drugs, devices and services which had previously been used. Kidney transplants reduced the need for dialysis. Conversely, the discovery of a new method of treating diseases such as Alzheimer’s would greatly enhance the demand for new drugs and devices.
As medical technology evolves, it is critical to understand how and when to adopt or invest. Moving too early may mean that the infrastructure needed to support the infrastructure is not yet in place whereas if you wait too long, the time to gain a competitive advantage may have passed.
What capabilities do health tech innovators need to succeed in the future of health?
As stated by an expert in a recent report by Deloitte on health tech investment trends, “a lot of companies are trying to break into health care- but healthcare is breaking into technology”. Any service or product must fit alongside the fact that health care will be done the way it needs to be done.
If you are an innovator in health tech, you must ensure that you are able to demonstrate where there will be return on investment which is measurable and realistic to investors. Often, investors will expect returns in a very short timeframe so you must determine whether this aligns with your business model.
Also consider how well a product or service will integrate with existing workflows – keep in mind that changing the behaviour and views of clinicians can be very difficult.
Are you aiming at public or private funded healthcare, who will pay for the implementation of your innovation and how can you demonstrate the long run cost savings and benefits to patient service, safety and the ability to scale up your business model?
Always consider the regulatory approvals needed and whether investors will be deterred by a product tied up in red tape.
Unprecedented Investment Opportunities in Healthcare Innovation
Healthcare has traditionally been an attractive, long term investment sector with many healthcare companies remaining formidable during economic downturns and demonstrating strong earnings growth relative to other market sectors.
Now, more than ever, is the time to invest in the health sector following the effects of Coronavirus and the pressure that this disease has put on medical providers who have been forced to look to innovators to solve challenges.
Changing demographics mean that the cost of healthcare to society is likely to continue to rise, encouraging innovation and the development of disruptive technologies.
Developing nations spend 10 percent of their GDP on average on healthcare and these countries are likely to see exponential spending on healthcare solutions in the coming years.
Invest in fast-growing, innovative companies that represent a solid long-term investment.
Blockchain and Digital Health
Blockchain and distributed ledger technology has the potential to revolutionise the storage and sharing of data in all sectors. It is a time stamped series of immutable records of data managed by a cluster of computers not owned by any single entity. Blockchain is more secure than traditional digital transactions and its simplicity means that there is no transaction cost.
In a recent article on ‘Blockchain for Digital Health: Prospects and Challenges’, it was noted that blockchain has the ability to turn the promise of digital health into a reality with huge potential to catalyse social and technological innovation. Blockchain can assist in countering privacy problems such as hacking and data theft whilst allowing for data to be exchanged between multiple operators in a secure manner thereby enhancing operability.
There is currently a disparity between enormous technical progress and investments versus currently inadequate understanding of the social dimensions of emerging technologies.
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