Like many industries, the healthcare sector is going through a period of rapid change, much of which has been facilitated by technology. Artificial intelligence (AI) and better access to biometric data mean that health professionals are more informed than ever before and the rise of the Internet has done the same for patients. Among the upheaval, there are five trends that are causing huge waves across the sector.
- Patients as consumers
The importance of consumers for the healthcare business is growing steadily. Their power is increasing, due to digital innovations like the Internet, they are better informed and willing to shop around. Crowdsourcing via review websites makes it easier to choose providers, plus virtual consultations make quality healthcare more accessible. As such, healthcare providers are now focussing on customer orientation, transparency and convenience as well as providing patient care and improving health.
- The digital revolution
Historically the healthcare sector has lagged behind other industries in embracing technological innovations. However, the likes of AI, big data and advanced analytics are now influencing the industry.
AI, in particular, holds several benefits for doctors and medical research. The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) is rising in popularity thanks to tools such as Apple’s HealthKit. This is helping patients stay well for longer, reducing the need for medical intervention and assisting doctors in understanding more about a patient’s day-to-day outside of the examination room.
Through AI, detection of disease is more accurate. Half of healthy women are incorrectly told that they have breast cancer through tradition mammogram scans, but using AI, scans can be analysed 30 times faster with 99 per cent accuracy.
- The Amazon effect
Tech giant Amazon now has its sights set squarely on the healthcare sector with the announcement of a joint venture with JP Morgan Chase and Berkshire Hathaway to found healthcare provider Haven. Other tech companies are also investing in the industry, including Alibaba, Apple, Samsung and Tencent. The sector’s incumbents are left waiting to see what this new wave of investment means for healthcare.
- Changing rules and regulations
New rules for medical devices in Europe and China, Brexit, scrutiny over drug pricing and U.S tax reform are all challenges facing the sector. Healthcare providers must quickly adapt their business models to incoming legislation and political pressure.
- Personalised medicine
The next era will usher in personalised medicine for patients, reducing side effects and increasing drug effectiveness based on a patient’s genetic information and real-time data. This is becoming easier and cheaper to obtain thanks, in part, to AI and connected devices. A new microelectrode biosensor device can be implanted to flag real-time critical changes in the blood to allow for early intervention. In the UK alone, there are plans to sequence one million genomes over the next five years, and genome sequencing is currently offered to some children with rare diseases to tailor their treatment.
Set to transform
In just a few years, the healthcare sector will completely transform. Professionals and providers must keep on top of the changes seen now, to effectively prepare for the future. It’s in upheavals that new industry leaders are made – and the status quo is broken; don’t fall foul to the latter.
About Christian Bashiri
Christian Bashiri is a Principal Consultant of Healthcare & Life Sciences at Carmichael Fisher Executive Search, based in Hamburg.
For a confidential conversation about how Christian and the team can help you hire your next senior hire in the medical technology or devices spaces, contact him directly here.