Top 10 healthcare innovations for 2019
We take a look at some of the top 10 healthcare innovations which are transforming the sector
The telehealth market is booming. Consumers are leading increasingly busy lifestyles, with up to 60% favouring digitally-led services. Providing clinical care at a distance, increasing accessibility and eradicating potential delays has given patients greater control, boosting patient satisfaction and overall engagement. Such is its exponential growth, The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in the US has recently released its proposed Physician Fee Schedule and Qualified Payment Programme updates for 2019, where telehealth services has been heavily featured, in order to deliver ‘different access points’ for patients.
9. Mobile technology
Consumers have become accustomed to accessing their data through the use of various digital tools, where the use of mobile and tablet health apps has tripled from 13% in 2014 to 48% today. Catering to this growing market, British based start-up Babylon Health is making waves on a global scale. Partnering with the National Health Service (NHS) and private health provider, Bupa, it has also cemented its presence across the flourishing Chinese market, with a membership base exceeding 1.4mn citizens across Europe, Asia and Africa. By partnering with global juggernaut Tencent, Babylon’s artificial intelligence system has enabled both parties to interact directly with users, identify specific illnesses, deliver health status assessments, and triage necessary actions. The mobile app is available to over a billion users and linked to more than 38,000 medical facilities in China alone.
8. Artificial intelligence
Artificial intelligence (AI) applications, such as predictive analytics for patient monitoring has provided significant financial savings. Applications that target hospitals and medical institutions include patient monitoring and transcribing notes for electronic health records (EHRs). The European Union is set to invest $24bn into artificial intelligence (AI) by 2020 in a bid to catch up with Asia and the US, who have invested heavily in AI and cloud services. This year, Google revealed its plans to harness AI and machine learning across a multitude of consumer technologies, particularly in healthcare. “If AI can shape healthcare, it has to work through the regulations of healthcare. In fact, I see that as one of the biggest areas where the benefits will play out for the next 10-20 years,” Google CEO Sundar Pichai has previously stated.
Blockchain is estimated to reach over $5.61bn by the end of 2025, even though it remains dependent on the ability to record and store information conveniently, economically and securely amongst different applications and systems. Providing transparency and eliminating third-party intermediaries, processes are streamlined, reducing healthcare costs exponentially. Unlocking the ability for providers to deliver a value-based healthcare system and enhance patient engagement, blockchain could save the industry up to $100-$150bn per year by 2025 in data breach-related costs, IT costs, operations costs, support function costs and personnel costs, according to BIS Research. Partnering with pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Ethereum blockchain-based supply chain platform, Viant sought to accelerate the pace of blockchain-based supply chain systems. Accenture and supply chain giant DHL have also developed a blockchain-based serialisation prototype which tracks pharmaceuticals from the point of origin to the consumer.
6. Health wearables
With the rise of lifestyle diseases, such as diabetes, more consumers are turning to health wearables that monitor glucose, heart rate, physical activity and sleep to gain a greater understanding of their health conditions. Following on from the release of the first Bluetooth headset back in 2000, the growing interest in wearables has seen monitoring our health and data become standardised. This data can be analysed by sophisticated algorithms to drive long-term diagnosis and support. Partnering with Google, health wearables company Fitbit is exploring the development of consumer and enterprise health solutions. Its acquisition of HIPAA-compliant health platform, Twine Health has seen the business enhance its clinical services by bringing on board a coaching platform, empowering people to seek better health outcomes.
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5. Electronic health records tools
From 2018-2022, the electronic health records (EHR) market is expected to grow at a compound average rate of 6% per year Providers and organisations continue to house fragmented technologies which create barriers towards collaboration and data sharing opportunities. This is further exacerbated if a patient straddles both public and private healthcare. Technology giant Apple has integrated patients’ medical records into its Health App as part of its iOS 11.3 beta. The data is encrypted and protected with the user’s iPhone passcode. Partnering with hospital providers and clinics, patients are now able to view their medical records from multiple providers within one platform. Johns Hopkins Medicine, Cedars-Sinai, Penn Medicine, UC San Diego Health and even the Cleveland Clinic have implemented this technology.
4. Healthcare transportation
Non-emergency health transportation remains a key issue worldwide, preventing patients from getting to or from a doctor’s appointment. 25% of lower-income patients have missed or rescheduled appointments due to lack of transportation, costing US health systems up to $150bn each year. Transportation companies such as Lyft and Uber have therefore entered the market by partnering with state governments to reduce these costs and deliver personalised patient care.
3. 3D Printing
Healthcare providers are set to represent the second largest industry sector in 3D manufacturing. The Food & Drug Administration’s decision to release its first comprehensive framework advising manufacturers of 3D medical products highlights its growing impact where more than 100,000 knee replacement surgeries are completed each year using 3D-printed, patient-matched surgical guides, for example. Through this process, surfaces and structures can be optimised for strength, weight and material use. Consultation between surgeons and patients has also been bolstered, where patients can better understand the complexity of his or her specific needs.
As consumers get more involved in the management of their health, consumer genetics and research companies have grown in popularity and scale. People want to further understand their genetic makeup, leading personal genomics and biotech company 23andMe to become one of the largest consumer-based organisations worldwide. Interestingly, this year, the company has entered a four-year collaboration with GSK to develop new treatments, but using human genetics as the basis for discovery.
Not only looking to develop treatments by analysing human genetics, pharmaceutical companies are looking to even remove hereditary genes which pass diseases down generations. In 2017, human embryos were successfully ‘edited’ through gene editing tool, CRISPR (Clustered, Regularly Interspaced, Short Palindromic Repeats), eradicating hypertrophic cardiomyopathy within 42 embryos.
1. Vertical integrations
As healthcare providers aim to provide greater transparency, promote collaboration and lower escalating patient costs, 2018 has been the year for a significant number of vertical integrations. CVS Health’s $68mn takeover of health insurer Aetna is a case in point. By influencing more of the supply chain, it will gain significant negotiating power to reduce costs for payers and patients, develop personalised solutions and improve overall outcomes. It will also promote the eradication of delays in process by removing any third parties within traditional business models. Other notable integrations are Optum’s acquisition of the DaVita Medical Group, Humana and Kindred Healthcare and Cigna and Express Scripts.
Reports have indicated that not only has the number of healthcare deals more than doubled in the last five years, the size of deals has also grown as a result of repeat investor interest, highlighting that this trend is here to stay.
Top 10 healthcare startups 2018
We take a look at the top 10 healthcare startups, originally published on CNBC’s Upstart 100 list
Supporting patients and their families gain essential, easy to digest information regarding rare-disease treatments through the use of their personal data, research and development service, RDMD works to accelerate treatments for patients with rare diseases.
Despite the lack of research and funding into rare diseases, patients are committed to contribute to the knowledge of rare diseases. The company therefore undertakes essential clinical research and utilises patient data from various organisations and look to develop essential treatment.
Supporting women to access birth control safely, startup Nurx is committed to delivering further guidance and support to patients who want to take control of their sexual health. Additionally, the telemedicine company has launched a home lab testing kit for patients seeking PrEP, a medication that further supports HIV negative patients to remain unaffected – the first company to provide this service without visiting a physical health clinic.
The company caters to those who feel unable to physically visit a health practitioner, or those with busy lifestyles with affordable solutions. Providing an in-demand, convenient service, partner physicians provide suitable prescriptions which can be automatically refilled and renewed. The company is HIPAA compliant and is available in close to 20 states and online.
FDA approved, hair loss company Keeps has seen impressive growth since its inception in 2017, and is now present in 30 states.
Catered specifically for men, co-founder Steven Gutentag witnessed first hand how information readily available regarding hair loss for men was confusing, upsetting and inevitably lead to more questions which needed easy-to-digest answers.
Establishing Keeps, the company partnered with dermatologists to establish a questionnaire for patients, as well as photos where a specialized team will analyse the severity of hair loss. Providing a bespoke action plan to tackle the issue, a committed medical team and personalised plan encompasses FDA approved products and support tools. To ensure utmost discretion, all products are also delivered to a patient’s home.
Launched in 2014, digital diabetes management programme HabitNu aims to support those who wish to improve their overall health and reduce their risk of developing type 2 diabetes or cardiovascular diseases. The programme is also a partnership initiative with the American Diabetes Association and Advocate Heart Institute.
Encompassing health coaches, the online training programme will further supported by Fitbit activity trackers, which can be earnt by patients.
Additionally, educational and support videos by other individuals in its patient support network can provide further encouragement and guidance. Its programmes can also be accessed via its app and its online forum. Essentially, all progress is collected through the use of data analytics which helps to reduce healthcare insurance costs.
Life insurance startup Ethos has gained an array of famous investors, such as Downey Ventures, Durant Company and Smith Family Circle, becoming the number one reinsurer and business partner in insurance brokerage globally.
Gaining $11.5mn investment in financing, led by Sequoia Capital, the company operates in close to 50 US states, and delivers tailored, bespoke life insurance plans which are affordable and high quality. The process has been simplified, where customers can sign up in 10 minutes, where it is upfront and transparency throughout. Medical information can be provided without the need for tests or sales involvement due to the use of predictive analytics, where claims are also paid in weeks, not months.
Big data platform DocSynk has utilised data analytics, machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI) and chatbots to support healthcare organisations deliver operational excellence through its prediction and prevention capabilities.
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Utilised by telemedicine companies and a multitude of healthcare organisations, such as Vector Oncology, Clear Data, Lightbeam Health Solutions and Mitel, the business can identify at-risk patients in under a week, provide essential solutions across the revenue cycle process and enable patients to speak with on-call physicians under its umbrella.
The company has also won GE’s healthcare innovation award, where the platform can be accessed through a mobile app, and its analytics engine.
Tapping into the skincare market, each individual has different needs, which cannot be tackled with a ‘one size fits all’ solution.
Harnessing machine learning capabilities, Curology has answered the call from users who suffer with problematic skin, particularly those who suffer with acne but believe treatment to be unaffordable. Users have to simply answer a number of questions, send some photos and they are provided with a personalised service, tailored to each individual.
The product and services have revolutionised the lives who have sought its services, and remains a firm favourite in the US.
3. Carrot Fertility
In a bid to attract and retain young talent, employers are increasingly looking to support female workers in the process of freezing their eggs, should they choose to do so. Launching Carrot Fertility in 2016, Tammy Sun has looked to transform how individuals plan, deliver and pay for fertility care, having witnessed first-hand the complexity of the process.
Providing bespoke fertility benefit packages, the use of technology has sought to simplify the process for employers and individuals, who can access essential guidance across a range of programmes. The company enables companies to ascertain the right coverage tier, keeping costs affordable through various plans which are on offer, where an app and dashboard helps to manage all financials.
2. Buoy Health
AI health assistant, Buoy Health has become an essential tool for those who want to access their symptoms and gain a quick diagnosis, anytime, anywhere.
Catering to those constantly on the move, the company harnesses the use of algorithms, where patients speak to an AI assistant, which is supported by extensive medical data in order to provide an essential diagnosis where applicable.
Designed to mirror a traditional conversation with a GP, the company has partnered with Circulation Health to support those in need of on-demand transportation upon diagnosis, and with CVS Health’s subsidiary, MinuteClinic, which will provide patients with access to convenient, accessible and affordable care at any of MinuteClinic location nationwide.
1. Aira Tech
Combining, wearables technology, augmented reality and AI, startup Aira (Artificial Intelligence and Remote Assistance) Tech has been recognised as the most innovative health startup by CNBC.
The technology removes the need for an assistant for those who are visually impaired with hands free professional agents, granting users with greater independence
Accessible via mobile app, the technology has supported those in the workplace, in higher education, the public sector and in the home, completely transforming the everyday life of its users