Why Healthcare Technology May Be The Next Investing Wave
The healthcare industry within the U.S. is massive, with spending related to healthcare reaching almost 20% of U.S. GDP in 2020.
For those of you keeping score, that means over $4 Trillion was spent on healthcare in the U.S. With an aging population and rising inflation those numbers are anticipated to rise significantly over the next decade.
The need for the healthcare industry to continue to invest in technologies as a way to create efficiencies is imperative to meet this growing need in the face of rising costs and inflation.
As an opportunity seeker, it’s important to keep in mind that certain segments of healthcare have struggled to keep pace and benefit from the rapid technological advances seen in other industries over the past twenty years which creates some unique opportunities. Now, the need for the global healthcare market to digitize and innovate has become dire.
Healthcare costs, both on a global and national level, are rising at unsustainable levels. This is due to a confluence of factors, including the growing aging population, increase in chronic disease, shortage of physicians and nurses, lack of access to care, and increase in digital demand by hospitals and patients. In addition to all these factors, the COVID-19 pandemic created an environment where old norms had to be changed. Innovation in healthcare is creating new avenues through which to treat patients remotely, improve patient flow through digital appointments, and reduce emergency care services through predictive modeling, artificial intelligence, and technology.
For these reasons and many more this quarter's Catch the Next Wave will discuss the innovations in HealthCare Technology.
Revolutionizing Healthcare With Technology
There is a tectonic and timely shift happening in healthcare. The old paradigm of sick care is being replaced by a new focus on preventative care and this trend is being fueled by the need to cut costs and create efficiencies in the face of higher levels of inflation and the rising costs of care. As a way to combat rising costs, healthcare providers are shifting to “4P” medicine that is predictive, preventive, personalized and participatory.
With the use of health apps, biosensors, AI, VR, robots, electronic health records and telehealth, healthcare organizations can meet growing demand and efficiently operate to provide superior, safer, and quality healthcare services.
Artificial Intelligence(AI), Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR)
AI, AR, and VR along with Machine Learning are transforming almost every aspect of medicine that you can imagine. These technologies can be found in every facet of healthcare including robot assistant surgery, virtual nursing assistants, voice-to-text transcriptions, electronic health record analysis, and preventative health tracking to name just a few.
The uses seem to be endless when we realize how AI can be used to detect diseases and analyze information from a patient's health record in order to more accurately diagnose a health problem. Machine Learning can process large pieces of data to identify patterns and make decisions with minimal direction allowing doctors to better assess risk and offer more effective treatments. Augmented Reality combined with Artificial Intelligence can help healthcare apps be extremely beneficial to both doctors and patients. Virtual Reality can also help with training clinicians through simulation, educating patients, and aiding with treatment. All these uses with a focus on creating efficiencies and lowering costs is very exciting.
The Medical Device industry led by companies like Medtronic, Edwards Lifesciences, Baxter, and Boston Scientific are interesting places to watch for developing trends.
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According to Markets Insider, the global Electronic Health Records market is expected to reach $33.41 billion by 2025. This expected growth combined with how antiquated and much in need of technological advance the old medical record system was, opens many unique opportunities for the next wave of investing in healthcare technology.
EHRs allow patients’ health information to be managed in a digital format and their data can be shared with other providers across multiple organizations—improving physician productivity and patient satisfaction while lowering costs for doctors, hospitals and insurance companies.
Some of the companies leading the way in this space are Cerner Corp, Quality Systems, Allscripts and Nextgen Health.
Therapeutic and Health-tracking apps
Therapeutic and Health-tracking apps can provide numerous benefits for both individuals and the healthcare industry. For example, they can track blood pressure, heart rate, sleep, activity levels, and blood sugar. They can also let you and your doctor see the data in a readable form, save the data, do a statistical analysis of the data, compare results and provide advice for improving your health.
A user’s health data contained in the apps serve as a valuable source to healthcare providers as well. They can use it to identify and diagnose health problems, assess risk, and offer the right treatments. Additionally, doctors are often busy and see a lot of patients, so having all the information about a patient’s condition in an app can ensure a more organized approach to treatment.
Some of the early leaders in this arena are Dario Health, Accolade, Teladoc-Livongo, and Better Therapeutics.
Genetic testing is an important medical tool used to assess various inheritable diseases, conditions, and cancers earlier than ever before possible. Early diagnosis, sometimes even before symptoms surface, helps to lessen the severity of symptoms in the long term and promote a better quality of life for patients.
10x Genomics, Exact Sciences, Guardant Health, and Natera are just a few names in a space that looks almost ready for some consolidation.
Blockchain and data security
No, we did not add this portion about blockchain because of all the Super Bowl crypto ads.
In fact, we aren’t even quite sure what investment thesis to use here as most of the leaders in this nascent space are still private offerings but we felt it was worth mentioning as we believe many of the private companies will eventually come to public markets or be acquired.
The huge volume of health data generated from wearables and sensors has led to a rise in new challenges like interoperability, data integrity, security, and privacy. Blockchain may be able to help create solutions by placing the patient in the middle of the healthcare ecosystem and, in turn, this will help the patient to gain more control over their health data.
When it comes to EHRs, blockchain can help prevent patient data from being changed or stolen by using a singular secure protocol. (you are going to have to ask someone under 35 what all that means :-)
Some of the names we have heard about in this speculative arena are Akiri, Burst IQ, Factom and GuardTime.
When it comes to all the advancements and trends that are taking place in the healthcare world this is just the tip of the iceberg as to where the next wave for investors may be found. Stay tuned as we will be diving deeper into this conversation in the future. In the meantime, if you are curious about the best way for you to include investments related to healthcare technology in your portfolio contact us today.