The healthcare industry is evolving quickly. Each year brings new technology, breakthroughs and players, sometimes changing the infrastructure of the industry itself. 2019 brought constant innovations in healthcare, reshaping the industry to provide better patient outcomes and access. While attending HLTH, we saw some of the biggest trends of the year brought to the forefront. Leaders from every corner of the industry shared their insights, weighing in on what most affected the industry this year and where we’re going in 2020.
Like the truism that every company today is a technology company, it’s starting to feel like every tech company is also a healthcare company.
While it’s common knowledge that companies like Google, Apple and Amazon have significant healthcare involvement, other companies are finding ways to offer their specific services to the healthcare industry. For example, companies like Uber and Lyft have entered the space by offering transportation services. Uber Health allows healthcare organizations to schedule rides to and from care for patients, guests, employees and other individuals, and Lyft provides similar services to curtail appointment no-shows.
At HLTH, we heard news of Facebook’s new Preventative Health tool, and other, perhaps surprising, entrants like TenCent, Twitter, LinkedIn, Mastercard, Samsung, HP and NVIDIA. Technology companies already meeting the needs of enterprises and individuals are increasingly specializing their offerings to meet the needs of the healthcare ecosystem.
Innovators keep pushing the boundaries in gene sequencing, gene editing, cancer detection, longevity and aging.
We’re seeing incredible progress in areas that were, until recently, mere concepts. For example, whole genome sequencing is now available for $600, down from $4 million in 2005. resTORbio has the first anti-aging drug in Phase III trials. Just this year, CRISPR was used to treat a sickle cell patient in Nashville, and Guardant Health and Grail are making advances in blood tests for cancer detection, which may replace biopsies for some cancers. It’s innovations like these that promise huge impacts on patient outcomes and access, and there will be more exciting developments in 2020.
Education of clinicians will have to evolve from memorization to life-long learning.
With so many new innovations coming to market, clinician education must rapidly evolve so they can understand and work with new technologies and data, as well as partner with data scientists and extended care teams.
Many doctors don’t naturally consider holistic approaches, lifestyle and social determinants of health (SDOH) interventions, or new data sources because they weren’t trained in them. Though they are a wealth of opportunity, data sources in particular have become too much of a good thing, and clinicians need training on how to interpret the digital exhaust from patient wearables and other sources, such as genomics and the microbiome. They are constantly inundated with new tests and new information, which can be overwhelming without a commitment to ongoing education.
Washington is still deeply divided on the Affordable Care Act, how to control drug prices and how to foster innovation. Innovators are driving change by working with and around the system.
It would be impossible to discuss trends and innovations in the healthcare industry without addressing the political landscape. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is looking for ways to accelerate the approvals of the most promising new technology and therapies to further drive innovation in the industry.
Democrats appear willing to push the utilitarian argument that savings in drug pricing will outweigh potential losses in innovation. Value-based contracting, a payment model that links coverage and reimbursement levels to a drug’s effectiveness, will become the norm where it can be applied. Meanwhile, Mark Cuban announced his plans to launch his own insurance plan and his own generic drug company as a counter to generic price gouging.
As the industry moves forward, so too do infrastructure needs. As electronic healthcare records (EHRs) have become standard, Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) has established itself as the interoperability standard for electronic exchange of healthcare information. FHIR is driving interoperability, and the government is promising penalties will be applied to those blocking data flow.
This year, we’ve seen that innovation isn’t limited to therapy or technology. Everything from how the government evolves its payer models, to infrastructure and businesses with no prior association with healthcare, all have an opportunity to bring the industry into the future for the benefit of our patients.
Interested in learning more about how AssistRx fits into the changing landscape of healthcare? Contact us.