Demand for good healthcare in conjunction with current technological advancements and premised on the fact that people today now live longer and healthier than ever before, provides a vast array of business opportunities.
Although there have already been numerous success stories in the sector, it is one where innovation and useful means to proactively improve health will still allow for access and opportunity. The aim is still to prevent, diagnose and treat the medical and health concerns of as many people as possible in the best way possible.
This article will look at the top trends in healthcare, with the aim being to identify the sectors or areas that are primed to be the next big thing for healthcare startups.
Information access, storage and protection is big business
Access to and the use of healthcare information that has been gathered for decades was one of the predominant reasons that healthcare has been able to make such huge strides into the future. Patient records, hospital records, results of medical examinations and any manner of information from the medical devices that are connected to the internet, present some of the biggest data sets in the world. This is the definition of big data and it will be used to create a number of associated industries and start-up opportunities.
The current positioning and use of big data in healthcare is still very much front and center and will be one of the main drivers of improved health care in the years to come. Having this vital information and the means to analyze and decipher it will be where many of the business opportunities will exist as we formalize and concretize the gains already made.
The first step must be understanding healthcare and healthcare management. For many, this has meant obtaining a formal qualification in this subject. The University of Ottawa has examples that intersect health care and business management. It is only from this point that you can then integrate and use the appropriate big data. There will also be several related and associated start-up opportunities in the fields as discussed below, where the aforementioned foundation will serve you in good stead:
Being able to store extremely large amounts of ever-changing and constantly update-able data is going to be one of the greatest opportunities and areas for technological and business development in healthcare provision. Data includes information that is gathered from web forms and from actual interactions at clinics or with their general healthcare practitioners. This unstructured data exists in vast amounts and needs to be stored and hopefully organized in the process.
Data warehousing solutions for the storage and organizing of vast amounts of customer and consumer behavior is now the norm in healthcare and with the right understanding of the process, there is ample opportunity for startups in this area. The big area of innovation is the ability to handle and structure data as quick as it is generated.
Having the data is only the first step in this process. The field of data analysis that uses medical data and demographics in extremely large data sets to create historical understanding of trends is ever growing. Either as a team of analysts or an independent freelancer, there are opportunities aplenty at the moment for big data analysts, and no where more so than in the medical and healthcare sector.
With such huge amounts of data available it is one of the main targets for cyber criminals. Demographic, personal and medical records provide all the data sets that cyber-criminals would love to get their hands on. It is thus imperative for both the authenticity of data, healthcare solutions and patients’ peace of mind that this data is protected and safe. A number of health-care writers have noted how the US health system’s IT infrastructure is old and vulnerable. Ransomware and hacks have in recent times crippled the system and thus far, although only affecting patient personal details, the risk is too high to be ignored. With the internet of things and smart medical devices all connected through data transfer, lives could be at risk should data ever be compromised. There have been a number of specific health data security companies and startups that have taken up this challenge, such as Clear DATA and Id Experts. It’s a sector that investors and venture capitalists are looking at with keen interest. There is still opportunity for start-up businesses as health data is continuously changing and ever-growing. Choose a specific aspect of health data and then focus on this to provide security solutions that will protect the information.
One key aim of data, must be to create more linkages and access to this information. Being able to link existing information and records to current biomedical research and create even more avenues for work and investigative medicine and healthcare is crucial. Some of this will be done using Artificial intelligence and automated systems, but as with all other systems and tech, they will need to be conceptualized and set into action by a team of experts.
More Human Healthcare
A personal commitment to health and wellbeing needs to made and engendered in patients. It is a change in the mindset of society as a whole that is needed. There will be opportunities for startups in this sphere of marketing and message development.
Medical and healthcare systems must be made more humanist
For a long time, accessing healthcare was a process and activity. Instead, it needs to be a proactive part of human life, and for this to happen it needs to be as human and friendly as possible, while allowing the available tech to also be at the forefront of healthcare provision. The first step in this process is identifying where a start-up opportunity exists, and preferably different to the niches that already exist.
What’s needed is a marketing process that enables society to see healthcare in a different way. Each individual needs to buy-in to the idea of being proactively involved in their own healthcare and this will serve to take the pressure of a struggling health care system.
It is more than patient-centered healthcare. Rather, it is about the patient taking increased control of a process that determines their own happiness and wellbeing. It just makes sense, and we now have the technology to make it a practical reality.
This is a challenge of immense proportions in an information age, run and determined by the availability of data. Hence it is indeed an opportunity for business. The primary challenge will be in understanding the current systems, and determining how to add the human touch and then to be able to create messages in support of this. Pro-active healthcare is a responsibility for everyone.
The Internet of Things for Healthcare
The movement towards remote healthcare is gathering pace and this is twinned with more proactive healthcare provision, making it possible for individuals to be involved in testing and self-medicating at home. It is an avenue for entrepreneurial ideas and new business as techniques and actual physical technical systems are required to provide this interface. It has become so much a part of this sector that it is now referred to as the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT). This sector as a whole will be worth $126 billion by 2026. The two main aspects of potential innovation are:
Remote Monitoring and testing
Remote patient monitoring is one of the main uses of the internet of things for healthcare. Data is collected from the patient at one location and then reviewed or analyzed at a different location. Collecting the patient’s heart rate, temperature and blood pressure data can now be done automatically and transmitted to the relevant healthcare provider for analysis. The use of algorithms and software to read and analyze some of these results using AI, will be a cutting-edge solution and thus provide opportunities for tech entrepreneurs. As will increasing the type and number of tests that can be done remotely. Ingestible sensors and connected contact lenses are just a few ideas of where the Internet of Medical Things start-up opportunities will be.
The future of healthcare is bright and that is something that everyone should be thankful for. There are also certain changes that we must all make in the way we view and participate in proactive healthcare. There are also numerous ongoing technological developments that are changing healthcare for the better. For the startup businessperson, entrepreneur, or social enterprise, these developments provide opportunities aplenty. However, and as this article has shown, the businesses that wish to make the most of these opportunities must have a solid grounding in the field of healthcare or healthcare management itself.
The ideas herein are not in question, the only uncertainty will be whether you are able to take some of these tips and run with them, making your startup dreams a reality.
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