Every year Forbes holds a 30 under 30 in health care competition to highlight 30 young people who are founding companies, searching for treatments, and working to fix health policy. Headlining the list this year is 29-year-old Michael Martin, who after getting mugged, was inspired to come up with a smarter, more efficient way to alert emergency responders. Unlike the current system, which does not take advantage of recent advances in technology, his company, RapidSOS, offers an app that allows users to send their exact location and type of emergency to 911 dispatchers at the push of a button. To date it has raised $14 million from investors.
Another young entrepreneur featured started a company to enable drones to get medication to people in the developing world. Researchers are hoping that drones will be faster and more efficient at getting medications to people in remote areas with underdeveloped roads and infrastructure. Many of these people rely on methods such as motorbike couriers. Drones have been used for surveillance and assessments of disasters and are starting to be more widely used to improve HIV services and medical supply deliveries.
The Deloitte UK Centre for Health Solutions also identified 12 innovations that it believes will have the greatest impact on the continued transformation of health care in 2017. Included on the list is 3D printing, which is estimated to be worth $1.2 billion by 2020. The first 3D-printed prescription drug to treat epilepsy is on the market, and medical devices made from 3D printing now include instruments used for surgery or devices implanted into patients. End use parts, like surgical tools and device implants, will likely become more common in 2017 as sophisticated metal materials for 3D printing are refined and gain approval for human contact. By 2019, 3D printing is expected to be a central tool in roughly one-third of surgical procedures involving prosthetic and implanted devices.
Blockchain is another innovation that made the Deloitte UK Centre’s list. Blockchain can help organizations bridge traditional data silos, increase IT and organizational efficiencies, keep business and medical data secure, and streamline patients’ access to medical data. Blockchain offers “long data” as opposed to big data, capturing a full history of a patient’s health. The greatest potential for blockchain may lie in the areas of clinical trial records, regulatory compliance, and medical records.
Related: Deloitte’s Top 10 health care innovations: Achieving more for less features survey results of leaders across the health care industry who were asked to determine what 10 innovations in health care were most likely to accelerate the transformation toward achieving the Triple Aim over the next 10 years. The paper defines innovation as activities or technologies that can result in getting more for less. More value, better outcomes, greater convenience, access, and simplicity all for less cost, complexity, and time required by the patient and the provider.
The report explores innovations that could help expand the frontier of health care, including virtual reality, artificial intelligence, biosensors, and trackers. These innovations will likely lead new care delivery models to proliferate at rates unseen before now. Incorporating innovations into business models may require changing how health care organizations currently prevent, diagnose, monitor, and treat disease. Industry leaders should consider building ecosystems that embrace non-traditional players and sources of knowledge outside their own four walls. Building pilots before expanding programs to scale, learning to embrace change, and evaluating new revenue sources can also help organizations succeed. And, organizations should strive to be agile in anticipating and adjusting their strategies as innovations continue to evolve.
This weekly series explores innovative breakthroughs and new technologies that are driving momentum and change in the life sciences and health care industry.