Top Predictions (not ranked):
1) Strong push toward price control and transparency measures around drugs. – Public and political pressure on controlling surging drug prices globally will compel health authorities to take transparency measures around drugs pricing, especially for some of the expensive diabetes and cholesterol medicines where more low-cost generic competition are gaining market acceptance. The implication will be momentous in the US market, where prescription drug prices have been rising more than 10% each for the last three years.
2) Deployment of more sophisticated outcomes based compensation care models – Till date the majority outcomes based compensation models are in reality performance modifiers built on top of legacy fee for service reimbursement schemes. Moving forward in 2017, more fully formed schemes are likely to be seen that focus on patient support across the care continuum. As such healthcare providers are in dire need of the right technologies and tools to help them effectively deploy and coordinate patients, personnel, and infrastructure. The impetus for this shift will be more exigent for countries that currently spend more than 10% of their GDP on Healthcare spend (for example The United States, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Canada, and Japan).
3) Apple to enter clinical healthcare – Health has been a big focus for Apple in the past two years and the company is committed to create more clinical actionable products and services. During August 2016, it acquired medical records startup Gliimpse in order to broaden its presence in the personal healthcare information management market and complement existing solutions such as HealthKit, CareKit, and ResearchKit. This marks a tangible shift for Apple toward more clinical oriented solutions from its so far focus on healthcare information gathered outside the clinical spectrum.
4) Healthcare investment (VC, corporate venture) to have a record year – An ideal confluence of events is poised to make 2017 a banner year for VC investment in healthcare. Strains on healthcare spending, the global recession, tightening regulatory oversight, and other factors have put a stranglehold VC dollar flow over the past 5 years, particularly for very early stage companies in the healthcare space. However, with the maturation of certain emerging technologies, policy changes to the FDA, and access to cash it is expected there will be resurgence in funding for new healthcare technologies.
5) AI Transforms Medical Imaging Informatics – As increasing number of experts and healthcare professionals find the usability of these AI systems as decision support tools and not decision makers, uptake of AI enabled clinical decision support tools is expected to increase in the coming years. More particularly during 2017, AI will play a big role in diagnostic imaging by complementing radiologists with advanced interpretation and imaging informatics supports.
6) The Digital Health Toolkit Comes to Behavioral Health – Digital health coaching platforms and wellness programs with proven behavioral therapies will find their ways as an efficient alternative post care settings and rehabilitation centres. Innovative online patient engagement platforms capable to capture tailored information on lifestyle and behavioral-based health risks data have a white space opportunity to provide patient risk classification solutions to make precision medicine a holistic approach. With a view to avoid future excessive treatment costs, payers will encourage healthier lifestyles amongst members and are likely to provide them with wearables and incentives for attaining specific health goals as motivation. In 2017, wellbeing programs will become central, critical business imperatives, necessary for optimizing not only the productivity and performance of employees but also for managing the bottom line.
7) Point of care Diagnostic Devices Push Telehealth Beyond Video Conferencing- Consumers will play a greater role in driving the uptake of point of care testing. In vitro diagnostic device (IVD) manufacturers will invest in digital strategy to make their business models patient-centric with consumer-friendly devices, embed remote connectivity features for real-time access to data, and simplify sample collection process.
8) Blockchain Becomes One of the Most Important Technologies in Healthcare- With the potential to change how healthcare information is stored, shared, secured, and paid for, blockchain technologies are seen as having immense potential to tackle some of the biggest challenges in healthcare information management. Companies such as Gem Health are just the tipping point of a major trend.
9) Consumer the new king in Healthcare Decision Making: The concept of consumerism has been making inroads into the healthcare industry and is advancing proportionally with the shifting industry focus from volume to value-based care delivery models. With this thriving consumer engagement movement today, consumers are more receptive to healthcare information and they want to actively participate in healthcare during, pre, and post care. Technology is playing a pivotal role in this paradigm shift where an evolving ecosystem of connected health technologies such as wearables, telehealth, artificial intelligence, and virtual reality are empowering consumers to be the new king for their healthcare decision making process.