By Mary Paterson.
Image Credit, Samsung Business Insights.

 

The relationship between health and technology is set to take our interactive apps, unmanned aerial vehicles (drones), synced hand held devices and revolutionary robotics into new territory. Thanks to innovative minds from around the globe, as the world becomes smaller the Digital Health industry is bigger every day, 2017 will be no different.

Patient Portals

Patient portals will revolutionise patient/carer/provider communication. Until very recently it was found that most doctors kept all documentation in hard copy. Patients and carers have to be physically present to review and receive test results, scripts, appointments, etc.

Among Patient Portals many other functions, they allow patients and carers to:

  • Make appointments
  • Cancel appointments
  • Order prescriptions
  • Update and request information

 

Analytics Platforms

The Australian Government’s Health Safety and Quality Commission found that in 2016 Healthcare wastage totalled a cost of $20 billion. The rise in analytics platforms looks to close the waste gap by holding a telescope to the seemingly endless abyss of Big Data and assessing waste, allowing funds and time to be better allocated.

“It is estimated that by 2020 there could be four times more digital data than all the grains of sand on Earth” – IBM

The more precise data analysis, the more accurate and efficient decisions are made.

 

Wellness and Fitness Apps

The wellness industry has expanded and so has its technology. On a standard device alone you’ll find daily fitness regimes – completely catered to you, by you – nutritional information; you will find sleep cycle trackers, temperature monitors and guided meditation, just to name a few.

The term wellness and fitness may evoke sighs and feelings of regret, nostalgia even, of all the classes unattended, gym sessions skipped and goals unattained. Forbes predicts that in 2017 the use of wellness and fitness apps will be exceed 1.7 Billion downloads.

 

Health Wearables

Health wearables work hand in hand with your wellness and fitness apps. Whether you are tracking your steps or your blood pressure, Health Wearables insure that you are in tune with your body every step of the way. Pun intended.

“In the coming year, I expect to see wearables that are actually giving insights, rather than just numbers” – Dr Joseph C Kvedar, VP of Connected Health

In the past two years shipments of Health Wearables increased by 11.66 million and is forecast  growth in its three basic tiers: fitness bands, activity trackers and other wearables (medical).

 

Drones

Most famously known for Star Wars, drones are Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, controlled by radio, providing a live feed back to its controller.

“My hope is that drones will free up other medical assets and personnel so that they can concentrate on the needed tasks.” – Philip Reece, CEO, InDro Robotics

In NSW ‘Angel Drones’ are being trialed as a healthcare delivery system for rural areas.  Drone technology has typically been associated with war and mining endeavours.

Now the technology is being borrowed to minimise the gap between rural communities and first class healthcare. These might be the drones we’ve been looking for.

 

Funding

Because the Health Tech industry deals with such a sensitive part of daily life – health- it’s understandable that funding that would generally be allocated to the venture, can instead see itself covering government compliance.

Within the Asian market alone, funding for Health Tech industries is projected at $100 million. Investors recognise the scope of Health Tech. With a range spanning analytics to wearables, the scope of the market affects traders and consumers alike.

“Finances need to be geared to an evolving market” – Shawn McGowan Lend.com.au

 

Robotics

Robotics have been working across the market through fitness, health and medical. Innovative entrepreneurs are developing robotic solutions to seemingly unsolvable problems.

“The opportunity to raise the quality of life is the biggest business going around” – Anand Mahindra, Chairman and Managing Director, Mahindra & Mahindra

People suffering spinal injuries can control their mobility through an android app; the Elli-Q is designed as a companion to keep elderly minds active and engaged; and there’s Aria, a service that utilises virtual reality technology to assist the blind. What a time to be alive!

 

Cognitive Computing

The ability for a computer to learn and grow from the information it obtains. Cognitive computing mimics the human mind’s thought process by assessing and recognising patterns in information and processing any number of information.

“If fed enough data, an AI assistant could give recommendations that are far more accurate and personalised than we’d receive from our closest friend.” – Vyacheslav Polonski, Oxford Internet Institute

And so it would seem that the growth of the Health Tech industry is walking the line of healthcare autonomy and simultaneously on the verge of taking over human input altogether. As a society, we look for efficiency and independence, and we find it in the form of patient portals and health wearables.

“I see the movement towards AI robotics as evolutionary, in large part because it is such a sociological leap. The technology may be ready, but we are not – at least, not yet.” – Geoff Livingston, Author and President of Tenacity5 Media

The Health Tech industry stands to gain arguably the most from an AI revolution; an age of drones, of breathalysers capable of diagnosing and assessing 17 diseases at once, all it takes is innovators.


About the Author
Mary Paterson is a freelance journalist for Authorflair, she writes about science and innovation. Mary has a passion for entrepreneurialism and small business.