We asked our 2017 contributors what they felt had the biggest impact on medtech this year…
‘Artificial intelligence: it powers new solutions such as Ada Health, Medicus AI and so many other tools. They all help the patient to get more personalised therapies and to brake down silos between stationary and ambulant care.’
‘The emergence of AI has had a big impact on health technology during 2017. AI is enabling health tech innovations to sense, comprehend, act and learn in the form of personal health tech devices, interactive wearables and health and wellbeing gamification. This has been reflected in many of the winning and shortlisted innovations coming through this year’s AXA Health Tech & You Awards.’
‘2017 was the year when people really started to realise the power they have to stay healthy and out of hospital. It was the year that social determinants of health were put into sharp focus and apps could be prescribed on the NHS Social Prescribing Scheme. 2017 was also the year when AI moved from the back-end to front and centre of human experience. You just have to look at the adverts on the London Tube to see Babylon Health/GP at Hand, turning our phones into an NHS queue jumper to fast-track doctor’s advice.
‘AI-driven services will provide a shortcut to better lifestyle and healthcare advice for certain people but there are worries that this will create healthcare service run at different speeds – and those in the slow lane are often the ones who suffer the worst health and need the most attention, and are the least likely to benefit from the new technology.’
‘2017 finally marked the advent of the accelerating trend towards putting patients in control of healthcare, especially in Primary Care. Platforms that facilitate tele-consultations with GPs, home visits and ordering of prescriptions are already having a much-needed impact. Anything that can help access to GP services is filling a big hole!’
‘A recognition across care sectors has emerged that tech is absolutely going to make a difference in healthcare, whether “they” like it or not; that wearables can make IoT comprehensible and assistive technology acceptable; and that the consumer is king and therefore that “knowing the person” must remain at the heart of everything or the consumer just will not take responsibility for their care, such that ‘transformation’ just won’t happen. Critically, funders have spotted the returns trend such that medtech is now the new fintech – that should now make everything possible.’
‘In September 2017, Jeremy Hunt stated that by the end of 2018 he wanted patients to be empowered to use apps to book appointments with their GP, access their medical record, order repeat prescriptions and access support to help manage chronic conditions. This move to provide people with more mobile healthcare apps is part of the government’s broader Digital Agenda and supports its strategy to make healthcare more patient-centred. The NHS App Store already contains a wide variety of apps to help patients to manage long-term conditions. For example, mumoActive is an app to help people to manage Type 1 diabetes, FearFighter helps people to tackle their phobias, SilverCloud helps people to monitor and manage depression and anxiety.
‘At the end of last year, Red Hat commissioned an international mobile healthcare app survey from Vanson Bourne, which discovered that the shift towards patient-centric care was one of the key drivers for mobile healthcare apps. Almost a third of European healthcare respondents reported that they planned to develop more than 20 custom healthcare apps by the end of 2017. These were being developed as part of clear mobile app strategies, rather than ad hoc apps.
‘These findings indicate that the rate of strategic mobile healthcare app development will increase over the next year. Deloitte has predicted that the European market for mobile healthcare apps is set to overtake that of North America by 2018. However, the Vanson Bourne/Red Hat Mobile survey found that healthcare providers still faced barriers in form of security, cost and regulation when developing and deploying mhealth apps. Healthcare providers might investigate app development and delivery platforms that can be deployed on-premise, to address concerns around fully committing app-based data to the Cloud.’
‘At Liferaft, we believe there wasn’t one specific medical technology that had the biggest impact in 2017 – it has been more a case of multiple technologies gaining pace, accompanied by a growing excitement around the potential applications of AI, neuroscience, mobile and wearable devices and the myriad of apps that are now available. Over the last twelve months, we have really started to see the capabilities of medtech being used by patients at home. This is especially obvious when we look at the potential of healthcare apps connected via IoT and the resulting analysis that can be gained through Big Data. The government is really driving towards a digital NHS. In September, Jeremy Hunt called for patients to be empowered with apps. At one end you have the “empowerment” with patients being able to access their NHS digital records and book GP appointments via mobile phone applications and being able to monitor conditions through connected devices and smart home technology. At the other end we have social care organisations seeing the potential to use patient-generated data to help improve the quality of care provided.’
‘2017 in France has been the year of the digitization of patient and doctors’ medical consultations. It is now looking normal to make an appointment with your practitioner 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In addition, this year France approved to push the tests and research into work to create artificial hearts.’
‘One of the biggest impacts on medtech in 2017 was the recognition of the ransomware threat to the NHS. Sixteen health service organisations were heavily impacted by the WannaCry Decryptor attack in May 2017. Critical systems were affected, forcing hospitals to cancel appointments as frontline staff reverted to using pen and paper. This incident shocked the medical profession and the British public and sharply highlighted the NHS’s dependence on electronic data systems and the need for more robust cyber security, data backup and disaster recovery strategies.’
‘Seed and A round financing remained a challenge to entrepreneurs and innovation in 2017 and there is no end in sight for 2018.’
‘The increased push towards “value based care.” Also, the IOT and tech in general having an impact on the medical device innovation area.’
‘Industry consolidation – Abbott acquiring StJ and BD acquiring BARD – Sorin acquired by Microport and more…’
Innovate UK is to invest up to £19 million to support innovation that offers significant changes in productivity, and cutting-edge innovation. This includes health and life sciences projects, and emerging and enabling technologies projects. There will be a further £12 million for Knowledge Transfer Networks, too.
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