Bergen Chamber of Commerce and Industry organized a health-related event in February 2023, about the investments and Big Tech trends in the health industry, to which Vinco took part of. The CEO of Vinco, Barbara Salopek, shared the stage with other experts of innovation in health. Barbara spoke about the trends in the health sector, as well as the focus of the Big Tech companies in the US towards healthcare innovation. She also offered a vision of what could the future direction look like for Norway and especially our Vestland region. We will go through the insight of her speech in this article.
Market drivers in the health sector
Whenever considering innovation potential in an industry, the starting point needs to be in trends. Trends provide valuable competence for survival and the ability to meet the needs of a rapidly changing consumer market.
How trend analysis drives innovation:
- It enables you to better understand consumer needs.
- It allows you to identify new business opportunities.
- It lets you track the changing market dynamics.
When we look closer to the health sector, we can identify four dominating trends in 2023:
- Covid-19: The pandemic has had a major impact on the healthcare landscape, accelerating the adoption of telehealth and virtual care, as well as highlighting the need for greater resilience and agility in healthcare delivery.
- Medicare: With an aging population and rising healthcare costs, there is growing focus on Medicare and medical populations’ needs, with a particular emphasis on cost reduction.
- Patient experiences: Patient experiences are gaining traction as they bring more accessibility, transparency, and personalization to the overall experience. Flexible patient payments and remote exams are just two examples of how patients are driving innovation in the healthcare space.
- Data: Increased market activity in health data platforms is providing methods for payers and providers to comply with emerging data sharing requirements. Data aggregation and analytics are becoming more important as healthcare providers seek to improve outcomes and reduce costs.
What is Big Tech doing?
A major driver of innovation in the health sector is the emergence of Big Tech companies like Amazon, Google, and Apple. These companies are leveraging their technological expertise and vast resources to develop new healthcare solutions and disrupt traditional healthcare models. For instance, Amazon’s acquisition of PillPack and its foray into virtual primary care services, or Google’s investments in AI-powered diagnostics and health monitoring tools.
Where is Big Tech investing in?
Data – Big Tech companies are investing heavily in health data platforms, providing new methods for payers and providers to comply with emerging data sharing requirements. For instance, Google is using its search engine to help users find reliable health information, while Apple is centralizing health data by using its devices to create a central repository for health data that will attract patients, vendors, and developers alike. Oracle aims to build a unified database for patient information, similar to the unified financial database with credit information, accessible to healthcare providers and public health officials. By leveraging data analytics these companies can help healthcare providers make more informed decisions and improve patient outcomes.
Precision Medicine and Data – Precision medicine is an emerging field that uses genetics and other patient data to develop personalized treatment plans. Big tech companies such as Apple and Google are investing in precision medicine by developing tools that allow individuals to share their health data with researchers. This data can then be used to develop new treatments and therapies. Partnering with life science companies, the companies have the aim to develop and implement precise diagnostics and therapies by integrating comprehensive datasets with powerful AI/ML technologies. For example, Amazon launched cancer vaccine clinical trial in partnership with Fred Hutchinson.
Wearables – The market for wearables in healthcare is expected to continue growing, with more companies developing devices that are specifically designed for medical use. Companies like Apple and Google are developing wearables and health monitoring tools that can track vital signs, monitor chronic conditions, and provide personalized health insights to users.
Providers market – Some of the Big Tech companies are investing to join the providers market directly. Amazon has taken a step to the providers market by offering primary care services through its platform. Amazon’s entry into the primary care services market has the potential to disrupt the traditional healthcare industry. By offering affordable and convenient healthcare services through its platform, Amazon is appealing to consumers who are looking for more accessible and convenient ways to receive medical care.
What should be the future focus for Norway?
In terms of future direction, Norway and Bergen should focus on leveraging the strengths in digital health and medical technology. With a highly educated workforce and a strong research community, Bergen is well-positioned to be a leader in the development of innovative healthcare solutions. Areas of particular focus could include digital health platforms, wearables and health monitoring tools, and AI-powered diagnostics.
Other speakers at the event also shared their views on the future priorities of the Norwegian health sector. Dr. Patricia Moore, one of the world’s most socially conscious designers who’s inducted into the “Innovators Hall of Fame”, provided the audience with her human starting point to the topic. She emphasized how the best designs are designed for humans. We should always have the receiver in mind when shaping innovations, especially when it comes to health. She also highlighted the trend of wearables as a possible focus area for health innovating in Norway.
By investing in these areas, Norway and Bergen could become key players in the global healthcare industry, exporting their expertise and solutions to markets around the world. Currently, Norway has a small but growing healthcare export market. Norway has a strong reputation for sustainability and ethical business practices, which could also be a major selling point for healthcare exports.
By focusing on innovation, sustainability, and ethical business practices, Norway and Bergen can position as leaders in the healthcare industry and create long-term value for both their citizens and the global community.
This blog post is written according to the presentation of Barbara Salopek.
- CBINSIGHTS: State of Digital Health Global | Q1 2022
- CBINSIGHTS: State Of Healthcare Q1’21 Report: Investment & Sector Trends To Watch
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