The healthcare industry has always been at the forefront of new technologies. And yet, the sector has somehow become jaded. We’ve seen so many hype cycles around health technology that it’s hard to stay excited about it. But it’s at precisely these moments of sobriety that the biggest impacts are felt. Just look at what happened in the few short years after the dot-com crash. Sure, millions of dollars were wiped off the value of tech stocks. But the market boomed over the following decade as people started making sensible investments. There’s an argument that says we see the same thing in healthcare. We’ve had the hype phase, driven by big data and health analytics. And now we’re in the growth phase, as technologies mature and start delivering real value.
So why is the healthcare business, as we know it, about to change forever?
Big Data Comes To The Health Sector
Big data has been used in the financial and business sectors for a good few years now. But it also has the potential to transform the area of health. In many ways, it’s ideally suited to applications in this field. Healthcare data solutions could provide health businesses with invaluable information on their patients. And that, in turn, could dramatically improve patient outcomes.
For instance, right now readmission is a major cost for health businesses. But with the help of big data, the sector can discover what practices lead to lower readmission rates. This, in turn, leads to better patient care and lower costs for the health business.
It could also enable things like treatment optimisation and better health outcomes. By using all of the available data in a patient’s record, interventions could be tailored to the patient.
Do-It-Yourself Health Interventions
Smartphones have done a lot to change the way that we interact with our colleagues, friends and family. But what about our own bodies? Right now, Vital Connect makes a biosensor that can monitor a patient’s health, even once they’ve left the doctor’s office. Vital Connect measures things like respiratory rate, skin temperature, activity levels and posture.
But this isn’t a product just for the body-obsessed hypochondriac. Wearable sensors collect a stream of relevant data that doctors can use to follow their patients. This means that healthcare professionals can now start changing the way they interact with patients. Essentially, doctors will be able to monitor patients remotely to see if they are sticking to the advice they are given. It’s particularly useful for patients management in areas such as healthy eating, exercise and weight loss.
PwC recently conducted a survey of what consumers expected from the healthcare industry. They found that consumer expectations were changing. People are no longer prepared to accept the fact that the healthcare business is behind the times. They expect a convenient and flexible service that meets their needs in a single click of the mouse. According to the study, the $2.8 trillion healthcare market will undergo a profound transformation. It’s no surprise, therefore, that the use of mobile health apps has doubled in just the last two years.