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So how does an industry faced with these kinds of challenges grow and thrive? And how does an industry like this market itself effectively when regulation is in place to stop this from happening in an active way? Simple: better products which lead to word of mouth.
Telemedicine: In today’s hustle and bustle, what we need is a fast diagnosis or, in my case, a quick sick note to get off work. My issue is that I need to call my local NHS doctor’s rooms at 8am to get an appointment for that day and it’s impermissible for me to book another day during the week. A massive problem on the supplier side is folks who don’t cancel appointments that they can’t make. That’s doubly compounded inefficiency that really sucks the jam out of our tax donut. Enter Telemedicine which allows sick folks to call a doctor and get assessed over the phone. Now obviously this isn’t for stuff like prostate exams, but if you need some quick respite from impending death, then this is just the service for you. One really great company in this field is PushDoctor which literally lets you see the doctor that you’re calling.
Artificial Intelligence: For me, artificial intelligence and machine learning is already one of the breakthroughs in healthtech. With all that patient data on hand, all we need is something smart to take it onboard and figure out more efficient ways to provide treatment. The more efficient we can make a treatment regime, the more people and money we can save more effectively. For example, now we’ve got AI technology which looks at xrays and predicts outcomes with much higher accuracy than current doctors do. The only problem here as that bad data into the system means bad outcomes. Despite this, look out for AI healthtech companies like Benevolent AI which are applying machine learning and artificial intelligence to the creation of the next generation of pharmaceuticals.
And last, for me, the next big trend in healthtech is the wearable: With heart disease killing more women than all of the cancers combined, predicting when your heart is going to pack up is a business worth trillions of dollars worldwide. It’s no wonder then that Apple has introduced heart monitoring functionality into the Apple Watch Series 4. And hot on the heals of that technology, is ex-Google VP Vic Gundotra’s company AliveCor which is building heart monitoring devices for smartphones. Along with the monitoring and the data that comes from it, come companies that are willing to provide services based on that data. Discovery Vitality, for example, offers their medical insurance customers *free Apple Watches because this enables them to track their wellbeing and offer premiums according to how healthy they are. What telematics was for the auto insurance industry is what wearables will be for the health insurance industry.
What all of this technology has in common is a strict focus on the end customer and their health. What we’ve found in most successful companies is that when they place the customer at the forefront of their strategy, they’re bound for success.