We have three key drivers of transformation change occurring simultaneously in healthcare, which I frame like this:
The Information Genome – we are learning how to harness the power of big data. As we get better at ingesting and interpreting different data sets, we will start to create an “information genome” that will greatly improve the intelligence of providers, patients and the healthcare system.
Artificial Intelligence – we are just learning how to adapt AI to healthcare. As an example, if we can study the brain waves of a person who is paralyzed, AI can help us see patterns far faster that we could via normal technology approaches. Scaling the data made available from our own bodies will lead to breakthroughs we don’t fully understand at this point.
The Human Genome – we continue to learn about how own bodies work, how genes are expressed, which pathways we need to shut down or open up and much more.
The result is a new era where technology and healthcare together will lead to exponential advance in how we approach medical issues. For example:
If we combine semiconductor and pharmaceutical technology, we can build an ingestible sensor that can accompany a drug and tell us what is happening inside our bodies during the journey of a single pill. This is Proteus Digital Health.
If we utilize new technology platforms like CRISPR-Cas9, l we can edit genes and, over time, eradicate disease.
If we utilize virtual reality in new ways, we can help veterans deal more effectively with post-traumatic stress disorder.
The deck has more examples. The key here is that it takes both disciplines together to create the next generation of breakthroughs.
All we have our challenges, which is why I ended with the four things that entrepreneurs need most to succeed in how they innovate in healthcare. They are the following:
Clarity of Rules – we need to know what the regulations are, so we know the hurdles. Just like a track meet, we can’t move the hurdles in the middle of the race.
Clarity of Payment – yes, pricing is an issue and always will be. But to invest, you need to be able to estimate what payments will occur. Consistency matters. Entrepreneurs stay away from unstable situations.
Ability to Learn Together – It’s time for FDA and entrepreneurs to learn together from the beginning. We all need to ramp up our knowledge and not wait until an application is made to start thinking through a new advance. We can greatly improve here and this requires both groups to try harder to learn together.
Ability to Evolve Together – innovation will surely require change. Let’s get educated together and evolve the regulations and rules that are necessary to improve or create as a team.
We’ve never had a better time to innovate in healthcare. The only question is whether companies and regulators can move with the speed of the market. Patients are certainly hoping we do so.