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5 Ways Technology is Transforming the Healthcare Industry

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5 Ways Technology is Transforming the Healthcare Industry

5 Ways Tech is Transforming the Healthcare Industry

Whether it’s information-sharing between patients and doctors or aiding in a high-risk surgery, it’s clear that dynamic applications of technology are well underway in disrupting the healthcare industry.

TECH AT OUR FINGERTIPS

Today’s infographic from the Online Medical Care highlights healthcare areas where tech is breaking barriers. Here are five ways that technology is impacting the sector, ranging from AI to nanomedicine:

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence will have a dramatic impact on many industries, and healthcare is no exception.

A large share of healthcare executives are already applying artificial intelligence in their operations, with data showing plans to increase budgets last year.

Healthcare uses of AIAdoption (2017)Adoption (2018E)
Clinical decision support46%59%
Population health33%46%
Disease management29%42%
Re-admissions33%41%
Medical costs / health plan21%38%
Patient safety and quality25%33%
Supply chain management13%21%
Cancer care4%12%

As the technology becomes more developed and widespread, it’s expected that AI could help diagnose strokes, eye disease, heart disease, skin cancer, and other conditions.

Virtual Healthcare

Also known as telehealth or telemedicine, virtual healthcare allows patients and doctors to touch base remotely using technology such as video conferencing or mobile apps. Many patients are also becoming comfortable using wearable technology to monitor any changes in their health – and sharing that data with their physicians.

Convenience, ease of use, and travel times to their closest doctor are main reasons why patients choose virtual care. On the flip side, many are concerned about the quality of care, or fear a loss of a personal connection with a doctor.

If all patients chose virtual healthcare over face-to-face visits, it could save the U.S. health system $7 billion annually – while the time savings would “free up” the equivalent of 37,000 doctors.

Nanomedicine

Nanomedicine is rapidly evolving field which controls individual atoms and molecules at the extremely minute “nanoscale” of 1 to 100 nanometers. To put that into perspective, a single newspaper sheet is about 100,000 nm thick.

Nanomedicine is mainly used to effectively diagnose, treat, and prevent various diseases. Compared to conventional medicines, it’s much better at precise targeting and delivery systems, paving the way towards combating complex conditions such as cancer.

The global nanomedicine market could be worth over $350 billion by 2025.

Virtual Reality

Although it’s normally been associated with entertainment, virtual reality is making waves in healthcare as well. The multi-sensory, immersive experience that VR provides can benefit both physicians and patients:

  • Healthcare worker training
    VR can be used to train surgeons in a realistic and low-risk simulated environment.
  • Physical and mental health
    VR offers therapeutic potential and rehabilitation for acute pain and anxiety disorders.

VR is thus considered a cost-effective and efficient tool for both teaching and treatment, and the VR healthcare services market is expected to grow from $8.9 million in 2017 to an expected $285 million in 2022.

3D Printing

3D printing has come a long way since its debut, especially in its uses in the healthcare industry. The technology offers faster prototypes, creating everything from personalized prosthetics to “poly-pills” at a fraction of the cost.

The customizable aspect of 3D printing is revolutionizing organ transplants and tissue repair, and it’s even able to produce realistic skin for burn victims.

Robot-Assisted Surgery

Last but certainly not least, robotic surgery is sweeping through hospitals. It allows doctors to perform delicate and complex procedures that might be otherwise impossible.

Typically, surgeons control a device with a camera and mechanical arms, giving them a high-def view of the surgical site. According to the Mayo Clinic, this method generally:

  • Enhances precision, flexibility, and control
  • Comes with fewer complications such as infections
  • Results in less obvious scars as it is minimally invasive

While technological adoption into the medical field doesn’t come without challenges, the value is clear – and we’ve barely scratched the surface of tech-driven possibilities in the healthcare industry.

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Healthcare

Visualizing the Future of the Pharma Market

With prescription drugs expected to be a $1.2 trillion industry by 2024, which are the most anticipated drugs and therapy areas in the pharma market?

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Visualizing the Future of the Pharma Market

Around the world, people are living longer.

By 2050, there will be two billion people that are 60 years or older globally. Meanwhile, the amount of seniors (65+ years old) in the U.S. will double to 100 million by 2060.

To meet the needs of this aging population, we will continue to need larger quantities and more varieties of prescription drug treatments – an industry that is expected to skyrocket to $1.2 trillion in size by 2024.

Drug Sales, by Segment

Today’s infographic comes to us from Raconteur, and it highlights the most anticipated drug treatments and therapy areas for the pharmaceutical industry.

It starts by breaking down the massive pharma market into therapy segments, showing a forecast for the size and growth for each category.

Here is the data for the top 15 segments, sorted by projected worldwide prescription drug sales in 2024:

RankTherapy Area2017 sales2024 salesCAGR
#1Oncology$104B$233B+12.2%
#2Anti-diabetics$46.1B$59.5B+3.3%
#3Anti-rheumatics$55.7B$56.7B+0.2%
#4Vaccines$27.7B$44.6B+7.1%
#5Anti-virals$42.4B$39.9B-0.9%
#6Immunosuppressants$13.7B$38.1B+15.7%
#7Bronchodilators$27.2B$32.3B+2.5%
#8Dermatologicals$12.9B$30.3B+13%
#9Sensory Organs$21.6B$26.9B+3.2%
#10Anti-hypertensives$23B$24.4B+0.8%
#11Anti-coagulants$16.8B$22.9B+4.6%
#12MS Therapies$22.7B$21.5B-0.8%
#13Anti-fibrinolytics$12.7B$20.4B+7.1%
#14Anti-hyperlipidaemics$11.3B$16.4B+5.5%
#15Anti-anaemics$7.6B$15.7B+11%
Other$379B$567B+5.9%
Total$825B$1249B+6.1%

This data, which comes from a recent report from EvaluatePharma, helps showcase a few key insights.

Firstly, the oncology therapy area – which makes drugs that are used to treat various forms of cancer – is by far the largest in the pharma world with $107 billion in sales in 2017. It’s also projected to maintain its dominance going forward, growing at an impressive 12.2% CAGR to $233 billion by 2024.

Next, while sales in cancer-related drugs will be the most in absolute terms, the fastest growing treatment area is actually in immunosuppressants – a segment of drugs that make a body less likely to reject a transplanted organ, such as a liver, heart, or kidney. It’s projected that this segment will grow at 15.7% per year, eventually becoming the sixth largest pharma segment at $38.1 billion in 2024.

Lastly, while sales in the pharma market will be averaging 6.1% in annual growth as a whole, there are two major segments that will see negative annual growth going forward: Anti-virals (-0.9%) and MS Therapies (-0.8%).

The Battle Against Cancer

Currently, there are more drugs used for treating cancer than for any other type of disease or condition.

RankDisease or ConditionNumber of active drugs
#1Breast cancer727
#2Lung cancer544
#3Colorectal cancer503
#4Ovarian cancer434
#5Pancreatic cancer430
#6Type-2 diabetes407
#7Prostate cancer381
-Alzheimer's disease381

Unfortunately, even though many cancer drugs are available on the market already, the debilitating disease is still a leading cause of death. Existing drugs are used in treatments of chemotherapy or hormone therapy, but it’s clear that there is still plenty of room for progress to be made against the disease.

For these reasons – combined with the estimate that nearly 40% of Americans will be diagnosed with some form of cancer during their lifetimes – it’s no surprise to see that companies have yet even more cancer drugs in the pipeline:

RankTherapy areaNumber of drugs in pipeline
#1Anti-cancer5,212
#2Biotechnology4,751
#3Neurological2,604
#4Anti-infective2,238
#5Alimentary/metabolic2,237
#6Reformulations2,073
#7Musculoskeletal1,597
#8Dermatological929

As more drugs get approved from the above pipeline, it is projected that $1 of every $5 spent on prescription drugs in 2024 will be going towards cancer-related treatments.

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Electronic Health Records as a GPS for Healthcare

In a chaotic healthcare system, the $23.6 billion electronic health records (EHR) industry offers a route towards streamlined patient-doctor interactions.

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Electronic Health Records as a GPS for Healthcare

As patients are bombarded with more choice and information than ever, the burdened health system seems to lack the appropriate support to manage increasing demands for personalized and convenient care.

Today’s infographic comes to us from Publicis Health, and it demonstrates how electronic health records are an important piece in the puzzle to improve experiences for patients and providers alike.

At a Crossroads

As it stands, the current healthcare industry faces several challenges. Patients today have more complex needs and wants, while physicians are struggling to keep up.

  • 25% of Americans have multiple chronic conditions.
  • 63% of patients forget to adhere to medications.
  • 40% of doctors feel that their work pace is chaotic.
  • 60% of doctors feel that visits are too short to treat patients effectively.

Adding to these challenges, the healthcare industry is grappling with significant amounts of technological change, while also trying to keep costs in check. Between 2015 and 2017, hospitals lost $6.8 billion in operating income – that’s an average decline of nearly 40% in just two years.

A New Direction for Patient Care

Enter electronic health records (EHRs) – platforms used to conveniently store a patient’s health information and offer all sorts of services, from scheduling appointments and consultations to identifying patients at risk and guiding care decisions.

An improvement on physical paper charts, EHRs allow a patient’s medical history to be shared securely and instantly across different settings.

First conceived in 2009 under the Obama administration’s Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) act, EHRs have rapidly evolved as they’ve been implemented in the industry, with 87% office-based doctors nationwide relying on the system.

Today, EHRs are a massive industry: the global market was worth $23.6 billion in 2016, and it’s expected to reach close to $33.3 billion by 2023. It’s clear their real capabilities are still just at the tip of the iceberg.

As technology progresses to incorporate artificial intelligence and big data into healthcare, the point of care for patients will likely extend beyond the four walls of a doctor’s office and out into the world. In other words, EHR systems act like a GPS, helping doctors and care teams navigate patient care more efficiently. This improves patient-doctor interactions, resulting in better outcomes.

Of course, there are always challenges to overcome. Here are a few key considerations for EHRs:

What’s the Problem?The SolveBenefits
Apps aren’t for all agesConversational AI platforms- All age groups are familiar with chat platforms
- Streamline user interactions
- Increases engagement
Expensive professional health system resourcesAI-powered virtual assistance- Concierge services for patients
- Access accurate patient information
- Increases engagement and adherence
Generic, one-way contentPersonalized content- Educational and relevant content, based on individual needs
Missed appointments or medicationReminder services- Supports optimal care
- Improves adherence
Accessibility issuesTelemedicine or transportation services- Enables patients with transportation challenges to receive the care they need

Thinking Beyond EHR Systems

Capturing real world data and patient-reported outcomes will be important for wider applications, towards:

  • A deeper understanding of patient journeys
  • Informing clinical trial design and execution
  • Better characterizing patient demographics
  • Evaluating treatment options for sub-populations

In the future, healthcare and pharma companies could potentially use EHRs as one part of an entire suite of solutions to improve their workflow – and extend the point of care everywhere.

This is part six of a seven part series. Stay tuned for the final piece by subscribing to Visual Capitalist for free, as we wrap up the major transformative forces shaping the future of healthcare.

Navigating Transformative Forces in HealthcareHow Big Data Will Unlock the Potential of HealthcareHow Tech is Changing How Healthcare Must Communicate With PatientsThe Amazonification of HealthcareHow Artificial Intelligence is Transforming Clinical Trial RecruitmentEHR as a GPS for HealthcareComing soon

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