As usual, Mary Meeker’s 20th Internet Trend Report, released last Wednesday, revealed many important global trends in Internet and mobile, from smartphone adoption to global growth of drone use, addressing a broad range of areas. She also touched on the impact on healthcare.
According to the report, the impact of the Internet on health is just beginning. The Internet has reshaped many industries, from consumer to business, while, like education and government, healthcare has just started to undergo technology-based transformation.
Mary Meeker said healthcare continues to shift towards consumer-driven, value-based care, which creates opportunities for technology solutions to play a role.
Thanks to 24/7 connection via mobile devices, consumers have long been using new ways to get products and services. They now have the same expectations with healthcare. With mobile and sensors becoming ubiquitous and more accurate, empowered patients can be in control of their own health more than ever before. Instead of going to hospitals and ERs, the 21st century patient has more options to get better, faster, and cheaper treatment and care through telemedicine, healthcare apps, and connected devices and wearables. They can even get reimbursed; effective January 2015, Medicare has separate payments for chronic care management for “non-face-to-face” care.
Healthcare costs have been skyrocketing. Not only are employees facing higher deductibles, with the “Cadillac tax” coming into effect in 2018, but Medicaid is also projected to have insufficient funds to pay all hospital bills beginning in 2030. Given that chronic diseases are responsible for 86% of US healthcare cost, it’s imperative to use technology to help manage and prevent them.
There have been some great innovations already, such as AliveCor’s mobile ECG reader for afib detection, chronic disease coaching program Omada, healthy lifestyle app MyFitnessPal, the Flatiron cloud-based platform for improving cancer care, and others. With big data and analytic platforms such as Google, Zephyr Health, IBM Watson Health, Lumeris, and Practice Fusion, the enormous amount of data generated from all kinds of connected devices could be stored, mined, and shared with doctors for better decision-making, eventually providing better and more personalized care at a lower cost.
The key takeaway for pharmaceutical companies is that healthcare continues to shift towards consumer-driven, value-based care. Therefore, pharma companies should fully embrace the trends to give better care at a lower cost. Think about partnering with technology leaders to create new products and services beyond prescription pills.