Even before Covid, health technology was one of the fastest growing investment sectors in the world. This pace has now more than doubled as a result of the pandemic.
Along with Dr Pooja Sikka and Shamik Parekh , I’ve recently joined Octopus Ventures to bring operational healthcare experience and sector investment knowledge to the team, particularly in scaling into B2B and public healthcare systems around the world. So from our perspective as investors, medical professionals and NHS policy advisors behind us, what are the trends we’re seeing emerge on the health tech horizon?
1. Femtech and Femcare
A growing demand for digital platforms which support women’s health.
Whether consumer-led or baked into clinical services (public and private), there is a greater demand for digital platforms connected to services, health professionals and diagnostics, that empower women around specific issues such as pregnancy, fertility, postnatal mental health and access to women’s health diagnostics and services.
2. AI & Radiology
As healthcare demand grows and costs rise, the demand for diagnostic imaging also rises.
But delivering a bigger specialist healthcare workforce to match demand is impossible. The rise of scans being read and reported by machines is inevitable. The role of the human radiologist will change to support complexity. How quickly this will happen, and which company will be best placed to get to an accurate, safe and scalable tech solution in place, is yet to emerge.
3. Point of Care Diagnostics
Point of care diagnostics exist, but the tech and scale are immature.
Portable and scalable solutions for real-time diagnostics are needed. Point of care diagnostics which help clinicians make often life saving decisions and improve diagnostic skills will prevent unnecessary delay, improve health outcomes and deliver better convenience to patients. We are incredibly excited by the speed with which technology is being developed to transform ongoing health monitoring in the home and community settings.
4. Advanced Analytics and Access
Greater computing power, growing data sets and detailed analytics, will empower healthcare providers and patients alike.
As both access to technology and analytic capabilities improve, AI and ML enabled platforms will support healthcare professionals to unlock greater clinical insight. This in turn provides an opportunity to weave together and connect various healthcare stakeholders across the value chain to provide better care and improve outcomes.
5. Precision Medicine
Combining multiple health data sources with personalised information about patients such as genomes and preferences will lead to a new way of practising healthcare.
The aggregation of healthcare data into a single picture about a person is already happening. Over time, data will become richer, real-time and more consistent, allowing health systems and the way healthcare professionals deliver care to be more precise and better tailored to an individual’s likely response to treatment.
6. High Street Healthcare
Patients want better access to healthcare and information, turning to tech and other services to optimise care alongside public healthcare provision.
Healthcare services, especially those delivered through digital platforms which can be bought alongside NHS care, will become a mainstream choice for many people. We will start to see greater convergence of healthcare into non traditional settings, perhaps even as a means to breathe life into the post covid high street.
7. Digital Therapies
Improving access to alternative therapies and psychotherapy through digital platforms is already happening but not at scale or integrated with the public health system.
The use of digital therapies is likely to become integrated into mainstream clinical services as well as patients accessing privately, where access to good quality psychotherapy, nutrition, child health and physiotherapy is important.
8. Employer-led Healthcare
Corporate and other employers will provide access to clinical services, delivered by novel health technologies, integrated with private health services, rather than just health insurance for their employees.
Employers have great buying power, and countless studies show the economic cost of ill health for the working age population both for the employer and the economy. Access to employer health programmes integrated with innovative health technologies is a likely future trend.
Fuelling the health tech revolution
Entrepreneurs focusing on the eight trends listed above will help governments, insurers and healthcare providers across Europe and emerging markets fuel the transformation of the world’s most significant investment sector.