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Catapult

Technology in Personalised Healthcare

A Reduced Threat of Cancer

Personalised healthcare will become more prevalent as we go forward. Already today, we have wristwatches that can save your life with predictive analytics. The same wristwatch will remind you to move, and keep track of your sleep patterns.

But that’s not all there is to personalised healthcare. Even traditional doctors’ appointments have seen a change in this direction. With the help of AI algorithms and machine learning, advancements in personalisation are already being made.

What are the benefits of all this?

The algorithms take into consideration the personal characteristics and requirements of a patient when choosing medication and therapy. This reduces the amount of guesswork, and the potential for a hit-and-miss approach to specific remedies. Also, all the data gathered from the patient helps to prevent illness and encourage a healthier lifestyle.

For example Eric Dishman, the general manager of Intel’s health and life sciences division, believes millennials are the first generation to see a reduced threat of cancer thanks to personalised healthcare.

In addition to this, personalised healthcare is expected to help reduce waste, which is currently a major problem.

First Half of 2020 Sees Major Investment

The investment in personalised healthcare has noticeably increased year by year. This is no surprise, as the global health sector expands faster than the economy and has been doing so since the early 2000s.

What is interesting here is the obvious impact COVID-19 has had. Already during the first half of 2020, the total amount invested in the area was 18% higher than the whole of 2019. Another reason might be the increased interest in the topic.

The UK government, for example, had an eye on this already in 2014 when they published a framework to personalise healthcare in 2020. The framework included using data and technology to transform outcomes for patients.

A huge amount has been invested in healthcare solutions but what exactly has caught the attention of investors?

By looking at the breakdown below, we can see five categories that the investments mainly fall into. All five categories are roughly equal with no significant difference in the amount invested in each.

Each category plays an important role in personalising healthcare.

The Most Heavily-Invested Elements

Biotechnology

Technology based on living things

ERP systems

Information platforms for organisations

Risk analysis

Industry-specific analysis on various risks

Diagnostic equipment

Tools used in medical diagnosis

Monitoring equipment

Appliances that track different metrics

Biotechnology

Biotechnology itself is certainly not a new discipline, nor is it one specific thing. It has a wide range of uses and applications. As an example, biotechnology has been of great interest in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Well, how does biotechnology relate to personalised healthcare, you ask?

In many ways.

Personalised healthcare includes a variety of treatments that use biotechnology. Stem-cell research, for example, focuses on using a patient’s own cells to provide personalised treatment options.

There are even cloud-based software systems that provide access to cell and gene therapies.

ERP Systems

ERP systems, also known as enterprise systems are information platforms that provide organisation-wide coordination.

Just like any other industry, healthcare organisations have to manage their resources. Doing this on one unified online platform increases efficiency.

According to recent research, the US healthcare ERP market will be worth $2.1 billion by 2025, with a CAGR of 5.6% from 2019 to 2025.

An update in the Finnish healthcare’s ERP system has been a topic of discussion for the past few years. The system that was introduced in an area of Finland’s healthcare, Apotti, has been questions by many. Hackers found a security loophole in the system and the expenses of the project have exceeded the budget by around €200 million.

However, keeping platforms up-to-date is crucial in the 21st century.

Risk Analysis

To effectively promote health and also prevent disease, at the individual, national and the global levels, risk analysis has to be made. The data our various smart appliances collect from us helps to monitor and predict our health more quickly than ever before.

Data on its own is of no value. In order to become valuable, data has to be analysed and interpreted, which is where technology comes in handy.

Diagnostic Equipment

New innovative technology and holistic approaches to data provide us with new tools for improved healthcare. There is now more data per patient than ever before. This allows us to make better predictions and estimates.

However, to be able to do this, new tools are required, new tools which support personalised healthcare.

By getting an accurate early diagnosis, the potential to maximise the efficiency of other health technologies increases.

Monitoring Equipment

There are many different kinds of monitoring equipment. Current technology provides an efficient way of monitoring the personal health of individuals.

An innovative solution is the Bluetooth low energy (BLE)-based sensors along with real-time data processing and machine learning-based algorithms.

BLEs can be used to gather patients’ blood pressure, heart rate, weight, blood glucose, etc.

For personalised healthcare to fully function, the entire system needs to be upgraded.

Future Trends in Healthcare

Over 500 eHealth professionals in Europe were asked what they see as the biggest eHealth trend within the next couple of years. The top five answers include trends that have very much to do with personalised health care.

The most agreed-upon answer is the patient health record (PHR). This particular record is maintained by the patient rather than the medical personnel. The record can be fully accessed online.

Some of the data in the record is entered by the patient manually. However, different IoT appliances will update the record in real time for you. Your smart scale will, for example, keep a record of your weight while your smartwatch monitors other metrics.

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