When Technology Will Finally Disrupt US Healthcare?

In 2020 the COVID-19 pandemic has yet again highlighted the flaws of the US healthcare system. When will technology finally fix them?

December 9, 2020
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For 50 years biologists had been struggling to solve the protein folding problem, and in November 2020 scientists had finally found one. It's an AI system named AlphaFold and it has already helped us understand the structures of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus causing COVID-19).

At the same time, the US spends $3.6 trillion a year on healthcare, more than any other country in the world. Nevertheless, it has been having the biggest number of coronavirus cases in the world.

The flaws the pandemic has brought to light have been developing for decades. Despite 60 years of increasing GDP percentage invested in healthcare, no effort was put to reform the latter effectively. No wonder more and more entrepreneurs and politicians are looking into the advantages new technologies can bring into healthcare not from the top of the chain, but from the bottom of it. 

Yet instead of fantasizing about how technology can potentially change the healthcare landscape, we at EGO custom web development company like to look into businesses that are already disrupting the industry and reinvent the way medical services can be provided.

Not only can it inspire the next wave entrepreneurs to make their contribution to the ways people take care of their health, but also reveal that all required technologies are already here. Here’s what Andrew Schwinger, one of the founders of the Digital Healthcare Revolution podcast and a business developer, thinks about the future of this industry:

“The growth of software enthusiasts and engineers during the past 20 years has led to so many technological breakthroughs for healthcare. There are blockchain, machine learning, 5G, AI, nanobots. Now it’s time for businesses to build usable products and services on top of them. It is only through competition that the stagnant healthcare market might have a new heyday.”
Andrew Schwinger, APAC Business Development

As a long-standing custom web application development company, we'd like to show and prove that even fairly new businesses can hop on the train of the future healthcare reforms.


Red Tape, Data Mining, And Drugs


Let's start with the performance optimization.

One of the problems leading to low productivity of healthcare workers is red tape and managing data silos. Using blockchain technology, Embleema seeks ways to help patients securely share their medical data with doctors, scientists, and other entities. Somewhat related, Tempus reuses data from previous patients so it could be used by current ones.

After organizing the existing data, there's always an opportunity to collect even more data for better decision making. For instance, K Health collects anonymous data to get insights for better management of people's medical conditions. And Prognos interprets clinical data to predict diseases early, find care gapes, indicate risks, and more.

Another direction in healthcare that gets the entrepreneurs attention often is drugs. Verge Genomics takes advantage of AI to calculate which drugs will have more chances to succeed in trials and hit the market. On the contrary, HealX leverages AI to analyze the current drugs and see if they can be repurposed for treating patients with rare diseases.

Telemedicine, Remote Health, and Automated Conversations

 Due to COVID-19, more and more people are considering having appointments online . This is what telemedicine is about, and there's, of course, Doctor On Demand, that aims to make remote healthcare mainstream. Since it's an 8-year-old platform, you have probably heard about it, but last year they’ve also launched Synapse, a platform that integrates their services with US health plans and employers networks.

Another prominent platform is UBERDOC, which EGO Creative Innovations (as a website application development company) helped develop. It's a web platform for patients and doctors conceptually similar to Uber. It allows a network of healthcare physicians to offer their services and patients to find and meet them within 24 hours, for a flat fee. You can learn more about our partnership in our UBERDOC case study

However, during the quarantine, not only an appointment can be had online, but also a day-to-day screening. A company named Eko delivered a platform able to monitor patients' vital signs remotely and detect lung and heart problems early. This is possible thanks to a number of sensors, machine learning algorithms, and AI. And there are also Aluna, Myia, Biofourmis, and other companies out there offering similar solutions.

Being pre-screened on your own, you don't need to consult the doctor on every health issue you may suffer from. But wouldn't it be great to be able to find out if it is serious enough to contact the physician? This is where the AI-based conversational interfaces come in handy.

Basically, they help automate care navigation and patient screening. Babylon Health, for instance, has a symptom checker that, among other things, lets you figure out if you have COVID-19 and suggest next steps. However, it only works in the UK and Rwanda, so other notable companies in this area are Curai, Memora, and Gyant.

Treatment, Precision Medicine and IoMT

When it comes to treatment, multiple companies are seeking opportunities to increase its effectiveness. Caption Health is focused on cardiovascular disease, while Green Sun Medical digs into treating Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis and Kyphosis:

The other way to improve treatments is precision medicine. Considering such factors as demographics, genetics, and drug levels, InsightRX seeks ways to forecast a patient’s individual response to a suggested treatment. And Axial3D takes advantage of 3D printing to help medical staff better understand unique abnormalities and come up with novel surgical techniques.

And then there are numerous specific devices united under the umbrella term of Internet of the Medical Things (IoMT): from the InPen smart injectors and the Medicsen smart patches for drug delivery to chronic disease monitors from Healthcare Care Originals and the Elfi-Tech remote health stations. 

At our web development services company, we believe that someday there will be a specialized technological platform uniting devices, screening methods, and innovative treatment programs that'll help patients maximize their chances of recovery.

Bottom line

For sure, there are many more companies out there. Some are improving the existing patients screening tech, others seek ways to help people unite into communities for various purposes.

Yet our goal was not to list the variety of businesses out there, but rather to show how the technology can change the way patients interact with the healthcare system so that the system itself could get changed.

Hopefully, the more people will use automated services to pre-screen themselves, book a consultation, follow the treatment plans, and report their vital signs via various devices, the more time and resources will appear to finally start optimizing the physicians' routine, get rid of red tape, improve the quality and speed of services provided and ultimately decrease its cost.

So it is still in the hands of visionaries and entrepreneurs to turn those possibilities into reality. And as a healthcare-focused business web application company, we’re happy to lend a hand in all things tech-related.

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