di , 29/10/2017

We sat down with Matthew Holt, co-chairman of Health 2.0, to speak about big trends in the changing healthcare sector, and he carved five of them in stone.

A combination of new underlying data technologies

The two big data standards here are FHIR and blockchain. It is not clear exactly what blockchain is, or will be, doing, but FHIR is already allowing third party applications to build on top of major enterprise medical records. Both standards are potentially breaking into who controls the data and who controls the user interface into that data.
There are a lot of questions about how fast it is changing. Some people in the electronic medical records business believe it could really transform their business within three to five years.

Movement towards new data analytics – modalities

This includes all the buzz words you hear about artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and the internet of things, but there are couple of interesting changes going on here.
One of the new modalities is voice, voice recognition and tools like Amazon Echo and Apple’s Siri, which are starting to come to healthcare. We have a demonstration at Health 2.0 of Google Home, showing an automated connection directly into the person’s electronic medical record. Also, there’s an automated booking system just using voice – that’s an interesting new modality that might change things. You can imagine doctors in the future using voice recognition to do their own records, rather than typing.
We have lots of other modalities too, including physical manifestations. The most obvious physical manifestation is robots – we have self-driving cars on the roads and we are going to have intelligent robots working in industry and the military soon. We will have them working in healthcare quite soon too.

Organisational business models of the future

Because of the changes in technology, we are also seeing people starting to break up the segmentation of how they deal with patients, so they can quickly do different types of things with different types of patients.
There are several different players pitching to enter that market through the different types of business models: there are the old, typical hospital systems, church, companies and governments, who feel they own the market; and newer players, like retail pharmacy chains and chemists, who are now entering this space.
But there are also people coming in from completely the outside the market. People are starting up and building new provider organisations and insurance companies that do care provision directly. What we are finding in the US is that there is a lot of venture capital investment into buildings and greenfield sites, especially in healthcare. A lot of big consumer companies have all the newer technologies, such as AI and cloud-based tools, already sorted out too.

Activating Google or Amazon

These businesses are starting to be active participants in healthcare delivery in some ways.
Interestingly, 2 days after Matthew first said this, Google, or its small spinoff Cityblock, started a care delivery system with their own hospitals, called Cityblock.

General awareness

Health is not solely dependent on medical care being delivered in hospitals by doctors, but instead comes from the community. It is determined by several factors that are embedded much more deeply, such as access to food, access to parks and access to education. People have started to think globally about the impact of cities and city design on health – what is the impact of transportation or education on health? How do we change those things and start thinking about different ways of delivering healthcare?