Of the many industries highlighted by 2020, healthcare was definitely at the top.
We gave new meaning to the term “front-line workers”, and saw how technology could help improve the delivery of services in high-pressure scenarios.
But now that crisis mode is behind us for now, what can we expect from the healthcare industry in general moving forward, especially in relation to technology and a growing digital infrastructure?
We asked business owners and innovators in the sector about their predictions, and they offered plenty of attention-worthy insights.
It might appear that compassion and technology are mutually exclusive, but that doesn’t seem to be the case, according to forward-thinking practitioners in the healthcare sector.
Rebecca Kaul, Chief Innovation Officer at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center said, “entrepreneurs from outside of healthcare need to understand that what healthcare desperately needs is not innovative technology alone. First and foremost it is an experience that can elevate that care and compassion that is provided to patients. Technology designed with these principles top of mind, that can seamlessly integrate in the complex, generally dated systems typically used in healthcare is essential as these older or less optimally designed systems will not be retired immediately.”
You cannot quantify compassion, of course – it doesn’t show up on a chart or readout. However, more business leaders are promoting this aspect of care, because the correlation to better health outcomes simply can’t be denied.
“In a field like ours, effective service is so much more than just medical supplies and following protocols,” said Kiran Gollakota, Co-Founder of Waltham Clinic. “We know the importance of being present, anticipating the needs of the patient, and creating systems that ensure they get that extra attention and consideration at every turn. The foundation of our approach is technological, cutting out the guesswork and avoiding speed bumps.”
On the medical devices side of things, Michael Hennessy, Founder and CEO of Diathrive is bringing a much-needed update to compassionate diabetes care.
“We let people put together a plan that works for their needs and budget, rather than making them buy things they don’t need,” he said. “That’s the right thing to do, and it’s a good example to set for the industry in general.”
Telemedicine, care coordination, and innovative devices are just the beginning for next-gen healthcare, which still has a long road ahead.
Precision and Speed
Compassion is only one part of the picture, of course.
Technical precision and custom care are both important as well. This is where technology can be used to bridge some of the big gaps that still exist in the healthcare industry.
“The healthcare industry is able to find solutions to problems that were previously unavoidable, or just maintaining what a patient was dealing with,” said Los Angeles Hair Restoration Specialist Jae Pak, MD. “For example, when it came to hair loss, for many, it was just a part of life. You could either embrace it or try to hide it with a hat, but there wasn’t a lot of viable technology to assist with reversing hair loss. Hair transplants have revolutionized the way we view treatments for hair loss and receding hairlines by allowing people to invest in long-term solutions for healthier, thicker hair.”
In the realm of prescription medication, telemedicine is speeding things up across the board.
The technology is already widely accepted, allowing patients to get the products they need on accelerated timelines without compromising quality. That’s where Rex MD CMO Anthony Puopolo has made major strides.
“It’s amazing how far we’ve come in a few short years,” said Puopolo. “Solutions that previously took months now take weeks or days. Doctors that truly care want things done fast. That’s how it should work – accomplishing those goals quickly and with accuracy.”
Rex MD is one of many companies increasing access to care, regardless of where patients may be located. “You shouldn’t be excluded from care and services because of where you live or your mobility level. We aim to remove all those barriers that still exist.”
Additionally, the medical supplies space is seeing some necessary upgrades thanks to technological innovation, evidenced by the success of AvaCare Medical, run by Founder and CEO Steven Zeldes.
“This sector was stuck in the dark ages for too long, and we’re finally seeing what’s possible,” said Zeldes. “Our focus is on exceptional customer support, flawless service, and assistance for everyday people, rather than just passively selling items. The products are important, but our commitment to helping people is what sets us apart.”
On a technical level, massive leaps have been made in areas like medical devices, including hearing products innovators like Audien Hearing.
“We’re seeing progress happen rapidly, far beyond anything we could have predicted in the past,” said Audien Co-Founder Dylan Arthur Garber. “The rate of improvement is outstanding, and it’s reflected in the customer feedback every day. Hearing technology is just one part of the story, of course. The evolution of medical technology is accelerating, and that’s a great sign of things to come.”
Not only are devices improving, but they’re being made more accessible and affordable to people who would have previously been barred by prohibitive prices.
“Our base product is under $100, which is a huge accomplishment in itself,” continued Garber. “Flash back ten or twenty years, and that would have been impossible. Innovation means better products for everyone, regardless of their resources.”
As always, business leaders in healthcare are looking for the next challenge, while ensuring they keep an open mind as the next wave of advancement fast approaches.
“Adopting a continuous learning mindset will be needed to adjust to the changing healthcare landscape,” said Linda Lombardi, PhD, Chief Strategy Officer and Chief Experience Officer at NYC Health + Hospitals Bellevue. “Staff need to continually refine competencies in IT in order to contribute and compete. For our patients, who will be expected to handle more self-care through IT capabilities, they need to develop comfort with wearables and using self-monitoring. In short, the biggest challenge facing healthcare will be in embracing IT in all facets of the health care and the delivery system.”
Healthcare and technology will continue to evolve side by side, and improve upon the foundations of the past with greater speed, transparency, access, and effectiveness.
We’re eager to watch as healthcare and tech advance at a rapid pace and raise the standard of care in every sector of this expansive industry.