Healthcare Innovations: Predictions for 2019 and 2020

How AI will affect healthcare? What’s with the Internet of Things? What about business management in healthcare? Let’s take a look at the closest future of the healthcare industry.

February 28, 2019
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Exciting medical projects dedicated to 3D printed organs, surgical nanorobots, and genetic engineering have been booming in recent years. The period from 2019 to 2020 is expected to be just as exciting for the healthcare and pharmaceuticals market as the past few years have been.
Due to their sensitive nature and extremely long testing and certification processes, it takes years for medical products and services to become available on the market.

In the coming years, we’ll observe the continued development of existing projects along with new trends that support the growth and scaling of healthcare businesses. Let’s have a look at a few trends and projects that will be advancing in 2019.

Healthcare and Artificial Intelligence

Within just the past few years, we’ve seen the rise of AI leaders in the medical industry, and drastic changes have been taking place in front of our eyes! A few projects will dominate and drive the AI healthcare market in 2019 and 2020.

IBM Watson Health is the most revolutionary medical ecosystem. It has already “impacted over 15,000 clients, 80,000 professionals and 185,000 patients with AI solutions.” IBM offers a whole range of AI solutions for the complete business and treatment cycles, starting from administrative tools and ending with cutting-edge research products such as IBM Watson for Genomics and IBM Watson for Oncology.

Both IBM Watson for Genomics and IBM Watson for Oncology are used commercially in some hospitals in the US, India, and the UK.

One more IBM product that stands out is IBM Medical Sieve. It aims at “developing a cognitive assistant system for radiologists and cardiologists to detect anomalies using holistic clinical information” derived from digital imaging such as MRIs, CT scans, and ultrasound. The project is in the final stages of development and should be available for commercial use soon.

DeepMind Health (acquired by Google in 2014) is a relatively young project that has shown promising advances in healthcare AI research:

– Detecting eye disease quickly
– Planning radiotherapy cancer treatment
Detecting patient deterioration from electronic records

The main DeepMind Health product is the AI-powered mobile app Streams. This app brings together crucial medical data like a patient’s blood test results, heart rate, and blood pressure so doctors can spot serious issues quickly. In case of bad symptoms, Streams sends an urgent smartphone alert to the right clinician. Streams has recently been commercialized.

NeuroLex Laboratories offers voice analysis software that examines speech waveforms and the actual text of a speech sample to diagnose such conditions as:

– Depression
– Psychosis
– Alzheimer’s
– Parkinson’s

Healthcare and the Internet of Things

IoT is slowly penetrating the healthcare market, with the main driver being significant cost savings for care providers. There are two main IoT trends in healthcare:

Remote care

Remote care via IoT technologies is expected to lower US employer healthcare costs by as much as $6 billion a year with the help of in-home devices with sensors, such as BiSmart Eldcare. The Eldcare device sends fall alerts to emergency services using a set of cameras and sensors.

Health monitors

There are many IoT health monitoring projects at the development stage. Google Smart Contact Lens is one of the most ambitious.

Currently this smart lens, designed for patients with diabetes, is at the testing stage. The lens measures glucose levels in tears with the help of a tiny wireless chip and miniaturized glucose sensor that are embedded between two layers of soft contact lens material.

Mergers and acquisitions

Hospitals, pharmaceutical vendors, and insurance companies are highly profitable. The healthcare market is supported by many smaller businesses that focus on specific locations and specialties. These businesses sooner or later merge with or are acquired by larger companies in order to achieve greater geographic reach and scale. We expect the healthcare market to become more consolidated in 2019–2020.

Here are some statistics on the largest deals of the last 17 years based on data from a white paper by Irving Levin Associates titled Seniors Housing and Health Care M&A in the 21st Century.

Healthcare management technologies

An increasing number of patients, shortages of nurses and home healthcare providers, and constant regulatory updates push business owners towards new process management technologies. In 2019 and 2020 we expect further digitalization of healthcare, with wider use of process management software powered by AI:

As experts in digital healthcare solutions, we expect that artificial intelligence, IoT, consolidation within the industry, and adoption of AI-powered process management software will be the the trends that deliver the most innovative services and products in 2019 and 2020. Be ready, as these trends can impact our lives in the most unexpected ways!

Feel free to approach EGO to learn how you can develop truly innovative experiences by leveraging AI and IoT in your mobile app.

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