Six Areas of Health Innovation

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What kind of innovations can accelerate positive changes in health care?
One question to Zayna Khayat, Future Strategist.

Patients must become the CEO of their own health.

The most important innovations in healthcare that will accelerate positive results for patients and for health systems are innovations that remove “friction” and bring a smarter “intelligence layer” to the many transactions required to deliver health services to patients. Within these two domains, there are 6 major areas of health innovation that I am most excited about because of the potential to really change how patients experience health services, the health outcomes achieved, while also improving the efficiency of health systems. They are:

  • Innovations that shift healthcare from being reactive “sick care” to preventative, proactive and even predictive so that risks or symptoms are stopped before they advance to the “sickness” stage. Predictalytics is a growing field that is advancing rapidly in this area, such as with these 7 emerging startups.
  • Innovations that shift the organization of health services from a “one size fits all” paradigm to an “n of 1” paradigm, where healthcare is truly personalized, precise, tailored and configurable by the patient and their families. Advances in ‘omics such as the offerings of startups Geneyouin and uBiome, as well as more sophisticated algorithms to stratify patients such as with the companies Newtopia and Vida are allowing entirely new models to be imagined in an “n of 1” configuration.
  • Innovations that open up new modalities and venues to access care, from an institution and bricks-and-mortar focus, to services that are dephysicalized, decentralized, and dematerialized. Virtual healthcare such as video consultations (Medeo) is holding a lot of promise on this front, as well as several uber like services (HealthTap) are enabling new ways for patients to access care in an on demand way.
  • Innovations that shift the frequency of health services from being episodic, intermittent and highly silo’d … to a model where care and information about the patient can be accessed in a continuous fashion, via a more integrated, team-like model. Technologies such as wearables (such as sensors in clothing – for example Hexoskin), dermables (like temporary tattoos) and insideables (like the Proteus ingestible pill) that enable continuous remote monitoring of several biometric and sociometric parameters are holding a lot of promise on this front.
  • Innovations that shift the power of decision making from the institution / system / provider towards more partnership with patients and families, where they are empowered to become the CEO of their own health. This is what Dr. Eric Topol calls “the democratization of medicine” in his seminal book, “The Patient Will See you Now”. A major thrust of innovation is to create tools to put the data back into the hands of its rightful owner – the patients and families who have the most stake in the use of the data. Empowering patients through access to their health data is a key step in delivering services that patients and their families deserve and expect.
  • Finally, innovations in the core business model of healthcare, from a volume/cost-focused model, to a business model that is centred around a currency of value or outcomes. Dr. Michael Porter from Harvard has done a lot to shape the debate and thinking on value-based healthcare. A major focus right now in business model innovation in healthcare has been bundled payment schemes, risk sharing schemes, pay for performance, and, in the USA, the Accountable Care Organization model. Medtronic has been leading a lot of the debate and thinking on shifting from a product to an outcomes focused business model.

Taken together, innovations that combine features of the above 6 shifts in healthcare will be the most powerful in accelerating the future of health, and the key change that we owe to our patients and families who fund and rely on our health systems to maintain and restore health of individuals and of society at large.

Watch > The digital divide in health(care)? | Zayna Khayat & Bastian Hauck | SU Germany Summit 2017

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