The rapid rise of health tech
05.07.2020 | 5 min read
The past few years have seen a rising focus on the burgeoning sector of health tech. It has quickly become apparent that digital healthcare solutions have brought with them a range of benefits. These include faster diagnostics, easier access for many groups in society, and more efficient management of a whole series of lasting health conditions. It can quite literally be a lifesaver for patients who, in testing times, are unable to visit their GP in person.
We recently wrote about health tech being one of the top five industries likely to continue booming in the post-COVID world. Today we wanted to delve deeper into some existing digital health solutions in order to find out what is already possible in this sector, and how it is likely to evolve. If you’re planning your own health tech product, the below products might offer inspiration.
A growing range of health tech wearables
Wearable health devices have become highly popular over the past decade, enabling patients to keep much closer tabs on their own wellbeing, and they have quickly evolved from the early days of tracking your step count to improve fitness.
From heart monitors and electrocardiogram apps to ovulation trackers, wearables are playing an increasingly important part in the management of illnesses and chronic conditions.
The wearables market is a huge one, and below we’ve selected just a few examples of ones definitely worthy of your attention:
KardiaMobile - a product made by AliveCor, a medical device and artificial intelligence company which is working to build products dedicated to screening and diagnosis. KardiaMobile is an electrocardiogram (ECG) that attaches to the back of mobile devices like iPhones and Androids. It tracks heart activity and transmits the activity to a mobile app through chest and finger sensors.
My Skin Track UV - Built by L'Oreal brand La Roche-Posay, My Skin Track UV is a wearable sensor that works alongside a mobile app to track a user’s exposure to UV, pollen, humidity and pollution. The data is then used to advise them on any action that they should take to keep their skin healthy.
Owlet - A company producing wearables and cameras for babies and infants which track heart rate and oxygen levels, and at the same time can be used as a standard baby monitor. Owlet’s products are tracked via mobile app and provide weekly milestones in a baby’s progress.
There are a number of new apps cropping up on the market, which enable users to measure their own stats - to do with blood sugar, heart rate and a lot more - tracking changes over time and providing doctors with valuable data upon which to base a diagnosis:
GlucoseMama - This is one of 10Clouds’ clients and a project we were proud to be part of. It's a research-based software system designed to help patients manage their daily blood glucose tracking, Medical Nutrition Therapy, and physical activity, plus we offer tons of emotional support and essential tips along the way. We keep our moms motivated, and even make them smile!
Instant Heart Rate - This app can measure your heart rate by using the camera on your phone. It works by detecting a colour change in your finger top each time your heart beats, using an advanced algorithm to show your heart rate.
AI for the management of key conditions
Forbes recently reported that there are more than a hundred startups currently active in the space of artificial intelligence for the treatment of a series of health conditions.
iCAD for cancer - iCAD makes cancer detection and radiation therapy devices. iCAD offers computer aided detection and workflow solutions to support detection of breast, prostate and colorectal cancers.
HeartFlow for cardiology - With the HeartFlow FFRCT Analysis, HeartFlow is driving towards a new standard of care for the diagnosis and management of coronary artery disease – the number one killer worldwide.
Vida Diagnostics for lung imaging - VIDA provides software and analysis services that aid in the early detection, evaluation, and treatment planning of lung diseases.
Augmented reality revolutionising surgery
Constant advantages in diagnostic imaging and data processing have revolutionised how doctors use scans for surgical procedures, but until recently, little has been done to support with their use during surgery. The latest tech focus, has therefore been on supporting surgeons to focus entirely on the patient while operating (without having to constantly turn back to look at an on-screen scan or other image). Enter augmented reality headsets. These use scans and other patient data and superimpose these on a 3D model of patient anatomy on the patient's body. A key existing player in this field is:
Leica Systems - Their GLOW800 augmented reality (AR) fluorescence product enables surgeons to observe cerebral anatomy in natural color, augmented by real-time vascular flow, with full depth perception. Importantly, its use means that they no longer have to interrupt surgery to switch between the natural microscope image and a flat black and white near infrared video.
The virtual GP
Seeing your GP in person, may soon be a thing of the past, with a growing trend towards virtual GPs.
Patients can now access a robot GP remotely, from their computer or phone, with significantly reduced waiting times and much faster diagnostics.
One of the pioneers of this sector is Babylon Health.
Babylon Health’s virtual GP is a robot doctor who patients can speak to through an interactive video session. The ‘Ask Babylon’ program is able to understand a whole range of primary health issues. Using machine learning, it can then provide information on what the patient should do next, always referring to real-life specialists where necessary.
Want to discuss an idea for your own health tech platform or another digital product? Get in touch with our friendly team on firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll let you know how we can help you bring it to life.