Big data, genomics, genetic engineering can combat rising healthcare costs, Ernst and Young says
To battle the rising cost of healthcare and the ever-increasing age of the workforce, healthcare employers must begin to assess ways to help their workforce live healthier lives - by utilizing digital technologies.
According to London-based Ernst & Young (EY) 10 digital technologies are transforming how healthcare is applied and improving patient lives. And with digital health funding totaling $3.9 billion invested in 155 deals for seed and Series A rounds this year, according to a StartUp Health report, these technologies are gaining traction.
Included in its list are genomics, big data and genetic engineering, which are just now coming to the forefront of healthcare. EY stressed that with more data and greater computer processing power, scientists are unlocking the value of these major data pools. And while genetic engineering is a highly controversial, gene therapy is gaining traction with its use to fight disease.
Wearables and remote patient monitoring encourage patients to lead healthier lives, and some employers have even encouraged its use in the workplace. According to EY, while this technology eases some of the pressure from providers, it’s the use of telemedicine that will allow healthcare access in the most remote of places.
There are reportedly 3.2 billion people who use the Internet, two billion of whom live in developing countries, according to the International Telecommunications Union. Thus, telemedicine is enabling creative healthcare solutions to reach patients previously unable to access care.
An interesting addition to EY’s list are organs-on-chips, which are organs grown in a lab from DNA of a patient. These organs are connected to electronic sensors that measure treatment response to understand the best technique for a patient - before it’s actually applied to the patient.
EY reported two underutilized digital trends: social media hospital reviews that enable providers to discover areas of improvement and digital trend monitoring that allows researchers to follow popular symptom searches to determine if there may be an outbreak. EY stated that the right algorithms can have a major impact on healthcare.