Part 3: Predicting Healthcare Trends of 2019
Voice Technology and Diagnostics - More Trends to Watch in 2019
“Alexa, what’s the traffic like?”, “Hey Siri, how do I say ‘Thank you’ in French?”, “Okay Google, where is the nearest Sushi-Restaurant?”
Since Apple introduced Siri in 2011, voice technology has gone mainstream across many industries and is making everyday life a bit more convenient by answering critical questions about the nearest gas station or by turning up the music in the living room. Experts predict that by 2020, 50% of all searches will be voice searches and 55% of US households will have voice-enabled smart speakers by 2022.
For professional applications, healthcare dominates the market for voice technology applications – with 47.1% of the applications, healthcare is larger than the next three industries - finance, ecommerce and manufacturing - combined (14.7% each) – and this trend will only continue in 2019.
Physicians and other healthcare professionals are spending valuable time entering data into electronic health records. Both patients and physicians, who often struggle under the administrative burdens of their profession, would prefer to have more time spent delivering healthcare and less time typing. Voice technology can address that issue.
In addition to this “low hanging fruit” application there is a host of other emerging voice applications that will change the healthcare industry. Examples for such applications include:
· Elder care and aging in place – while smart phones require dexterity and good vision to use, a voice-controlled device is easy to operate even for the impaired or those who are not technically inclined. Voice technology can help the disabled and elderly to manage everyday life and remain independent for longer.
· Patient Engagement – patient compliance and engagement are two major challenges especially with the chronically ill. Voice and artificial intelligence enabled applications can function like a pocket version of a personal healthcare provider that helps to manage disease on a daily basis and steer patients towards healthier, doctor-recommended behavior.
· Enabling the deaf and hard-of-hearing to follow conversations, capture lectures, and participate in meetings is also possible by relying on an interface that captures spoken language and transcribes it into text.
· Patient-provider communication – Need to reschedule an appointment? Would you like to receive a call to remind you of an upcoming appointment? An intelligent voice-enabled chat bot can do that, freeing up staff to focus on healthcare and not scheduling. Coordinating care teams internally is another “job opportunity” for a chat bot.
Currently, voice applications are not fully mature as they are limited to recording short pieces of text and not yet ready to deal with lengthy pieces of information. Nevertheless, Frost & Sullivan predict for 2019 that “HIPAA-compliant voice and chat bot applications for healthcare will gain prominence as (…) tech titans aggressively compete on voice solutions.”
Trends in in vitro Diagnostics
Long regarded the unexciting cousin of medicine, diagnostic testing is moving into the spotlight more thanks mainly to direct-to-consumer (D2C) genetics and companion diagnostics. D2C is already a $1.2 billion market opportunity and is forecast to grow by 22% in 2019 as new players such as walk-in-clinics, retail clinics, or online clinics start offering genetic testing services.
Likewise, the companion diagnostics market, currently at around $3 billion, is going to see healthy growth rates in 2019 and beyond with a $6 billion forecast for the market in 2025. Like in many other healthcare fields, artificial intelligence models will deliver a boost to Companion diagnostic approaches that look to selectively identify patients that derive benefit from a certain drug.
A third trend in diagnostics is liquid biopsies, especially for early cancer screening. The total addressable market of about $100 billion and promising results in the clinic make this a significant growth opportunity for 2019 and beyond.