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Health Care, Technology, and the Future

– Contributed content –

Lab technician

(Belova59, Pixabay)

30 Dec. 2018. The advancements in technology have transformed most industries, but none more so than the health care and science industry. As we enter 2019, the developments will only continue to get quicker and more advanced every day. The more we learn, the more we can do and then more we do the more we can learn. In 2019, the science and health care industries can expect to see AI vs. physicians, consumer vs. clinical, human empathy vs. machine intelligence as many new players enter the ecosystem.

2019 looks set to be a year of value-based care as and access to affordable and quality care will be critical political agendas for upcoming 2019 elections in emerging markets such as Asia, Africa and, Central and Eastern European countries. The lines between retail, IT and health care industries will continue to blur, and Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon in the West, and Baidu, Ali Health, and Tencent in the East will start to dominate the individual care space.

Non-traditional digital marketplace providers such as Ali Health, Tencent, Amazon, Google, Apple, Microsoft, and IBM among others will dominate the home health space, providing the required impetus to public health systems to ensure accessibility and affordability of care. 2019 will also be a reality check for two of the most hyped technologies for the health care of this decade, viz. artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain.

During 2019, artificial intelligence in the health care market will cross $1.7 billion by the end of the year.  Throughout the year, AI and machine learning will further evolve human, and machine interaction and AI will begin to see fruition in the imaging diagnostic, drug discovery, and risk analytics applications.

The application of digital health will also continue to go far beyond the traditional system and empower individuals to be able to manage their own health. It is expected that digital health tech catering to out of hospital settings will grow by 30% and reach a $25 billion market globally by the end of 2019.

One of the chief drivers for digital health is the increasing cost burden of chronic health conditions and the aging population.  RPM devices, telehealth platforms, PERS, and mHealth applications will all contribute to these social issues, and digital health applications will continue to expand care delivery models beyond physical medicine to include behavioral health, digital wellness therapies, dentistry, nutrition, and prescription management.

Historically, a majority of medical innovation pipeline has flowed from West to East, however, emerging markets are now contributing 20-30% of the pharmaceutical industry’s value with a double-digit growth and a string of global drug and device OEMs are attempting to upend that trend with new products tailored to Asian bodies, lifestyles, and purchasing affordability. By 2019, it’s expected that up to 10% of health care research and development will be invested to localize innovation for emerging markets in Asia.

As data management becomes the norm in the health care industry, it is expected that a high number of specialty-specific analytics solutions will gain prominence among providers striving to investigate drug utilization, treatment variability, clinical trial eligibility, billing discrepancy, and self-care program attribution specific to significant chronic conditions. By the end of 2019, it looks as though 50% of all health care companies will have resources dedicated to accessing, sharing, and analyzing real-world evidence for use across their organizations.

Voice technologies as with most industries are also going to be prominent in the health care industry. HIPAA-compliant voice and chatbot applications. Will bring voice technology to vetted clinical use cases such as elderly care, chronic condition management, physician’s assistant will provide growth opportunities.

2019 will definitely be an exciting year for health care; be prepared for some significant transformations and new entrants in the market! There will be new, major blockbuster drugs which will be launched in 2019 which are expected to have a significant impact on treating certain cancers, diabetes, peanut allergies, and other conditions.

A combination of two drugs could hugely benefit people with diabetes by enhancing the production of cells essential to the production of insulin – the hormone that balances blood sugar levels. Diabetes can lead to a number of health complications, including blindness and strokes, so finding a better treatment is critical.

As well as new drugs, drug testing has developed over recent years and has found new ways that don’t include, breathing or spitting on apparatus or providing a urine sample. The new instructions for drug testing might merely be to give a fingerprint or a simple hair drug test which could determine What types of drugs were used, roughly when the drug was used and if drug use was a repeated pattern. This new non-invasive test could change the world of drug testing and analytics.

On a far more personalized, intimate and accessible level, smartphone apps are also changing the health care industry and will continue to do so giving patients more control over their medical decisions. Apps are already empowering ordinary people to have more knowledge, and they are beginning to level the playing field in patients’ favor, and will ultimately change the future of health care forever.

A tool such as the Isabel Symptom Checker lets users gain access to a service which was only ever previously used and accessible to the medical community. It empowers patients to research and finds potential causes for their symptoms, all with a few taps and swipes. Armed with this knowledge they can significantly speed up their consultation with their primary care physician or specialist by showing the results of the app’s analysis.

This also eliminates the trial-and-error approach to medical diagnoses and allows patients to get a clearer picture of the tests that they need for a further and confirmed diagnosis is saving the doctor time, saving the patient time and saving pain and suffering. The usability of medical apps is actually getting to the point where entire tests can now be done right through a smartphone. Simple attachments can be added  which can monitor blood sugar and even carry out blood tests. The future is upon us.

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