Whilst the development of medical treatment and procedures have made huge advances over the decades, the Healthcare industry itself has advanced in a very different way. Innovative solutions across many aspects of modern healthcare, including delivery, technology utilisation, and operational models adopted by its largest organisations, suggest the industry is more on par with the consumer friendly, innovative tech field, as opposed to the public service field.
Understanding the modern importance and ever-turning gears of the healthcare machine requires an understanding of its origins. Since the industrial revolution, the concept of social healthcare has been steadily rising alongside increasing enlightenment. As societies became more progressive, so did the need for quality healthcare which eventually would evolve into the multi-billion industry as it exists today.
Innovation in healthcare has always been concurrent with funding. Some of the biggest developments within the industry have attracted major investments because of the new opportunities that require no FDA or licenced medical approval. The development of drugs or therapeutic treatments must first be approved by government organisations, and are subject to various contract logistics which can take years to finalise, creating problems for investors who want a quicker return on their initial investments. However, which new technologies and services in a hyper-connected healthcare industry, investment is much easier.
Over time, other methods of funding healthcare systems include:
1: Taxation at state level
2: Social healthcare
3: Private health insurance
4: Personal expenses
5: Charity donations
In developed nations where no universal healthcare system exists, the subject of healthcare has become highly politicised, becoming a symbol of the ideological divide between the right and left. To put it mildly, many Americans disagree upon the role in which federal government should take in the everyday lives of American citizens, and by actively taking a role in universal healthcare, republicans and libertarians are quick to call infringement on their liberties.
The modern healthcare industry is not only front and centre of the political stage, but also a mammoth business which is currently generating between 6 and 7 trillion USD of global costs. In the United States alone, healthcare expenditure accounts for 18 percent of GDP. US government spending on healthcare R&D is bested only by the defence budget, which shows just how important prevention methods, as well as a potential future of super bugs, is to the interests of a global superpower.
Wider influence in the modern healthcare market is also present from leaders in consumer electronics, such as Apple and Google. Both companies have introduced wearable technologies that, in a likely move to fill a gap in the market, pack a wealth of health and fitness applications that can directly connect to our bodies. Apple has even gone so far as to introduce its own range of apps directly taking aim at existing technologies within the industry; ResearchKit and HealthKit in particular allow customers to pool clinical trial data, as well as monitor various aspects of their health using the sensor functions with the Apple Watch.
The delivery of healthcare information in this way sets a precedent for further specialised healthcare services developed by traditionally non-healthcare centric organisations. The definition of the market itself was at one time so broad, that it virtually included almost every company that made a claim about the beneficial uses of its product or service. The newer healthcare market is focused on digitally driven solutions, as well as the progression to a universal healthcare system powered by consumer technologies.
Another benefit of healthcare technology is market access. The modern healthcare market is better connected, not only between patients and doctors, but also medical organisations, investors, clinical researchers, pharmaceutical conglomerates and hundreds of specialised healthcare providers. This allows patients to seek out the services they need with much greater ease.
This has ultimately made the industry much stronger, faster, and more resilient as it embraces the change needed to empower patients, consumers, businesses and healthcare brands. There’s still a ways to go (with many still fighting for their universal right to healthcare) but the growing market for healthcare technologies and the multi-billion dollar opportunities they present can help make this a reality.
This was a guest post by Gokhan Tunc. If you are interested in writing content for The Butterfly Mother please email firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss.