HEALTHCARE, LIFE SCIENCES & HEALTHTECH
Currently, in the sector of Life Sciences and HealthTech, we are facing a road to recovery from the pandemic, but once the crisis is over, it will be a road to innovation. The health industry has already made strides in vaccine technology being able to pump one out in a year when the last big vaccine took 10.
It will be up to HealthTech industries to lead the way after the pandemic and take advantage of technology to make us all more resilient in the future.
We help private and public healthcare companies drive change and innovation by making Healthcare better, HealthTech future-driven, and outcomes more accessible for millions of people around the world.
Healthcare will be more predictive.
Healthcare will become more proactive as it becomes more predictive.
Connected devices (IoT) will help physicians get real-time data from patients to monitor their health status while charting a path towards intervention and pro-active monitoring.
Wearables will drive artificial intelligence as the key enhancer of change. We will finally see AI as the catalyst transforming clinical functions, from trials and drug discovery, with the automation of the administrative processes and more advanced levels of complex illness diagnosis.
Investment in AI slowed down in 2020; however, with the advent of the cloud, which allows organizations to manage and analyze vast amounts of data, AI could help drive major care insights while saving the industry money and unnecessary hassle.
However, the industry could also see a puzzling effect of AI in 2021, with algorithms used in 2020 to prioritize vaccine distribution. The widespread use of AI to choose who gets what at such a pivotal public health time has raised valid yet difficult questions about how machines make decisions.
Telehealth will blossom
The virtual care industry saw accelerated growth in 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic led patients to access healthcare from home. Growth will continue to accelerate in 2021, experts say, as virtual care options expand, with integrations and security options.
Automation in screening, triage, and primary care cases will continue to move beyond urgent care and typical pharma-related activity that used to stand for “telehealth.” This will be evident in virtual diagnostics, patient-reported outcomes applications, and digital homecare platforms.
Increased acceptance of virtual care will lead to bundling services about chronic care, mental health care, and rehabilitation of prolonged conditions and cases.
Mental health saw a record high of $2 billion in equity funding
2020 was a banner year for mental health, seeing a record high of equity funding accelerating in the fourth quarter, and women’s health companies reporting a record number of deals, according to CB Insights.
Mental health saw a record high of $2 billion in equity funding last year (2020), with dollars in the fourth quarter alone up 30% — mostly from early-stage deals. However, the deal count fell from the third quarter.
Similarly, companies addressing women’s health needs saw a record number of deals last year at 239. About 62% of those were early-stage companies, suggesting the fledgling industry is poised for further snowballing even after the coronavirus pandemic, experts say.
With the abundance of data, cybersecurity becomes strategic
With increased tech innovations, the movement towards cloud-based computing, AI, and other factors promoted enormous data sharing. Along with the vaccine rollout effort and continuation of remote work, cybersecurity and peer-to-peer security will become a focal point for healthcare companies in 2021, experts predict.
According to CB Insights, over the past three years, the fourth quarter of 2020 was the second-biggest funding quarter to health cybersecurity companies. Reported data breaches in the U.S. healthcare sector increased by almost three times last year, per HHS data, with malicious actors targeting the industry as it struggled to respond to COVID-19.
30% increase in cybersecurity findings per domain
According to Experian researchers, these worries carry into 2021, especially as the U.S. races to strengthen the vulnerable vaccine supply chain. Additionally, most COVID-19 contact tracing apps, meant to track and minimize the spread of the virus that needs widespread use to be effective, don’t employ sufficient security protections, making it easy for hackers to gain access to private information.
Attackers could look to the vaccine to conduct a massive phishing effort in 2021, as the public looks for information and updates on distribution, predicts James Carder, chief security officer for security company LogRhythm.
The rise of telehealth has also led to more cyberattacks. Telehealth providers reported a huge increase in targeted attacks last year as adoption skyrocketed, including a 30% increase in cybersecurity findings per domain, according to Security Scorecard.
And healthcare is still reeling from the massive ransomware attack on major hospital operator UHS in September, which brought the IT systems of all its 400 U.S. facilities down. The hospitals were forced to divert ambulances to other sites, fall back on backup paper operations, delay test results, and complicate needed care. However, UHS said no patients were affected.
Heightened investment in cybersecurity also makes sense as two new HHS regulations meant to nudge the industry toward interoperability are taking effect in April. They will result in health data being shared more broadly, raising significant privacy and security concerns.
Additionally, Trump administration regulatory rollbacks finalized in late 2020 include provisions allowing providers, including hospitals, to share cybersecurity software, meaning the proliferation of such tech safeguards among physicians is likely to increase in 2021.
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