‘Patients are waiting’ is a blog series where we intend to demonstrate how technological advances today will make a significant dent into global healthcare challenges of 21st century.
Human population has grown exponentially in last 100 years. A quick analysis of the graph below shows that we have gone from less than 2 billion people in 1900 to more than 7 billion people today. That is 5 billion additional people in less than 125 years! During the same time, Healthcare industry has not been able to produce enough care providers to keep up with the healthcare needs of rising population. Therefore, the patients have experienced poor quality of care at a much higher cost to them.
There are three key drivers in healthcare industry
- Reduce cost: Healthcare cost are sky rocketing all across the world. A developed country like US is unable to provide affordable healthcare to its citizens. Healthcare has always been a key issue in every US presidential election in recent history. The cost of healthcare in developing nations, while cheaper than US standards, is still not very affordable for many citizens living in those countries.
- Improve quality of service: Due to ever increasing penetration of traditional and social media, patients all over the world are becoming more aware of their rights. As a result, patients are demanding a better quality of service from their healthcare providers.
- Reward better patient outcome: Healthcare industry is encouraging pay for performance to incentive caregivers to improve patient outcomes. This differs considerably from traditional pay for service model, where caregivers got paid even if the patient did not get better. While it may very difficult to define what it means to have a ‘better patient outcome’ in many situation, there is an overall effort to quantify such metrics. For example,repeat hospitalizations should be minimized for the patient, and hence it is a metric used in pay for performance model.
Any solution that addresses healthcare needs to deliver one or more of the drivers above.
Industrial revolutions: Humans innovated to address rising demands from increasing population of the world. In last 250 years of human history, there have been 3 industrial revolution. Many experts believe that we are witnessing fourth industrial revolution right now. The fourth industrial revolution, powered by cyber physical systems, will transform every industrial sector including healthcare and life sciences.
A few trends in fourth industrial revolution can be categorized as follows
- 3-D printing
- New materials
- Advanced robotics
- Internet of things
- Cognitive computing
- Stem cell
In our next post, we will examine how digital innovations listed above deliver on the 3 key drivers for healthcare.