Like most industries, technology is often the engine that drives change in the healthcare sector, and it is often business enterprises that introduce and disseminate these new technologies. There are thousands of companies competing to be the “next big thing” in healthcare, but some of the following organizations are producing revolutionary concepts and products that could dramatically alter the way that Americans receive healthcare in the coming years. The $3 trillion healthcare sector is ripe for ways to trim costs, improve quality of care and optimize inefficient systems. The first company that is pioneering new medical technologies is one that has become synonymous with user-friendly electronics—Apple. In addition to its major business successes like iPhones, iTunes and iPads, Apple has recently introduced the Apple Watch. While not specifically geared towards medical applications, the Apple Watch does have the potential to change how consumers monitor their health. The basic model already includes a number of fitness features like a pedometer and daily activity app. As app developers produce health monitoring programs for this high profile platform and those of its competitors, wearables could be a key method for consumers and physicians to obtain information about patients’ wellness as well as disseminate medical instructions. Some tech companies aren’t so much innovating new healthcare concepts but are applying existing tech to age’s old medical practices. Pager is a new company in New York City that allows patients to request a house call. Within a couple hours, a physician can visit the patient and perform a variety of services—most of which are covered by insurance. While this service may not replace Emergency Rooms entirely, if Pager becomes a success, it may usher in a new age of home-based medical services. The internet is one of the most powerful information tools available, so it is only natural that one of the most interesting new tech companies is marrying patient needs with global health expertise. Crowdmed is an information sharing service that enables patients to discuss mysterious health issues with a community of medical detectives. Leveraging the entire wealth of medical knowledge of the internet is a brilliant idea that will not only help patients resolve issues, but could be an invaluable resource for physicians and medical professionals. Another healthcare startup that is poised to shake up the industry is Project Io, which uses 3-D printing technology to create more comfortable and better functioning prosthetic limbs. This company utilizes existing scanning technology which is commonly found on mobile devices to model a residual limb, then creates a form-fitting prosthetic which will heighten function. While any one or more of these companies could help define a new path for the healthcare sector, it should also be noted that the coming world of data and technology rich healthcare is likely to be shaped by a conglomerate of new products and innovations. In a few short years, healthcare consumers will be able to take advantage of medical resources, which would enable access to information and services that have only been accessible through physicians and hospitals in the past.
Written by: Robert Moghim, M.D., CEO- Moghim Medical Consulting Inc.