4 trends that are changing healthcare and life sciences

As the digital revolution transforms the fields of healthcare and life sciences, organisations and individuals stand to gain from new trends that use data in innovative ways to provide better patient outcomes.

According to Deloitte, the electronic health record (EHR) market in Asia Pacific is projected to gain a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.7% until 2023. With strong investments coming from the government, private sector, and non-profit organisations, the growth of the EHR market is forecasted to grow the fastest in Asia Pacific, compared to other regions. Overall, the Asia Pacific market for MedTech is expected to reach USD 133 billion in 2020. With shifts in the region’s demographics, population growth, and rapidly changing economies, the call for digital transformation in the field of healthcare and life sciences has become more urgent. To meet the people’s healthcare needs, the adoption of digital innovations and breakthroughs is a must.

To keep pace with these developments, organisations need to embrace technologies such as cloud data platforms as part of their digital transformation. This technology enables healthcare providers to build a data infrastructure that supports future data management requirements and turns them into actionable insights. With flexibility, security and accessibility offered by the cloud, four emerging trends are showing great potential and can contribute to the transformation of the region’s healthcare industry.

Mobile Health

The advent of mobile health data applications, or mHealth, has given patients on-demand access to their health information. Through these apps, patients can view their medical records, communicate with their care team, and manage appointments and billing 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Centralised electronic health record (EHR) systems have enabled self-service patient data management, empowering individuals to better track information about their health. With the consumer’s growing confidence in mobile health data applications, global mHealth market is predicted to grow at a CAGR of 33.5% by the year 2020. In Asia Pacific, the increasing disease awareness of the population and fast mobile technology adoption contributes to the region’s growing market share. With the rise of mHealth, there is an opportunity to bridge the gap between the increasing medical needs of the people and the region’s nascent healthcare infrastructure.

Genomic Analytics

Breakthroughs in genomic research and DNA sequencing have led to the growth of precision medicine, also known as personalised medicine. Precision medicine requires a holistic understanding of the entire genome of a patient, summarised through the analysis of petabytes of genetic data. The field of genomics is rapidly expanding, with different branches of precision medicine involving the integration of various data.

Pharmacogenomics, as just one example, takes clinical- and drug-related data into account along with genomic data to determine drug effectiveness and the risk of adverse events in particular patients. The research-based applications of genomics are wide-ranging and constantly evolving, spanning genotyping initiatives to genome editing and advanced epigenetic analysis. According to global management firm L.E.K. Consulting, “we are only at the beginning of the genomics revolution.”

The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT)

IoMT comprises a universe of medical devices and applications that are connected to healthcare IT systems via the internet. It includes a range of internet-connected devices including consumer health wearables, remote patient monitoring trackers, sensor-enabled hospital beds, medication-tracking systems, and medical supplies and equipment inventory tracking systems.

The expanding IoMT ecosystem is transforming healthcare and improving patient outcomes by enabling remote monitoring of patients with chronic diseases, improving drug management, and delivering a better patient experience. It is also increasing the safety of medical supplies and reducing costs. To reap the benefits, healthcare organizations are starting to invest heavily in this promising new space: it is estimated that the IoMT market will be worth $188 billion by the year 2024. With 50% of the world’s population located in the Asia Pacific, the region is expected to gain the highest CAGR in the coming years.

Emerging Technologies

Emerging technologies such as AI, machine learning, and blockchain hold incredible promise for the future of healthcare and life sciences organisations. From improving patient care to accelerating medical research and clinical trial analysis, organizations stand to provide potentially limitless benefits for patients and customers.

For instance, bio pharmaceutical companies are looking at applying AI and machine learning in drug discovery, precision medicine, and medical imaging and diagnostics.  According to Deloitte, “Digital transformation will result in biopharma companies using technologies to accelerate innovation, streamline processes and eliminate barriers. AI technologies will be at the forefront of this transformation.”

The Potential of the Cloud in Healthcare

Harnessing the power of data in healthcare and life sciences offers a host of possibilities for patients, medical professionals, and healthcare companies. Undoubtedly, big data offers significant benefits in tracking, analysis, medical research, and administration of health services. However, the digital transformation journey is just starting. We can expect more technological and digital innovations to emerge. With the help of cloud, we are at the beginning of finding new ways to address healthcare challenges, create better experiences for patients, and empower medical providers in delivering a responsive and effective healthcare.