8 Bold Thoughts on the Future of Healthcare

May 9, 2018

By Brian Sozzi, TheStreet.com

From Amazon to Berkshire Hathaway to Cigna there are some mega companies trying to shape the future of healthcare.

The common threads that tie efforts by all these big-name companies: a system of complexity that technology will play a key role in helping to redefine. Well regarded healthcare analyst Ross Vijay of Evercore ISI is fresh off a visit to the The Future of Healthcare Conference Las Vegas, which drew 3,500 industry experts. Vijay says the application of new technologies was at the heart of many of the things he saw and heard.

"While it is clearly too early to tell if the premise will be a success, the conference was certainly eye opening and left me at times remarkably encouraged (there are some super cool companies out there doing ground breaking things that will disrupt the current paradigm) and at other times utterly depressed (our healthcare system is a complete mess and portions of my coverage universe may be rendered irrelevant / disappear in the future if they are not careful to adapt / innovate)," Vijay says.

Here are eight of Vijay's boldest takeaways:

  1. Big Tech is 'all-in' on healthcare and if legacy participants are not careful they will face major business model disruption (right now many are open to partnership - in the future this may not be so).
  2. There will be an even more material disruption to providers in the future as we push care closer to the community (retail) and ultimately to the home (the cheapest / most effective site of care for many - via in person or telemedicine).
  3. AI / machine learning will materially change the way doctors are educated and practice and in 20 years' time interacting with a Bot or having an algorithm recommend the correct course of treatment or drug will be standard.
  4. Physicians spend an ungodly amount of time in front of a computer, workstation at the expense of the patient, and many of these functions can / will be automated in the future to improve the degree / value of human interaction.
  5. Clinical genomics is at the very early stages of making personalized medicine a reality, with even success on the consumer frontint evident of the magnitude of the disruption building.
  6. Data privacy will be a huge issue and major stumbling block in making much of what I wrote above a reality and the government will need to unfortunately be involved to help set policy / ensure integrity of the system.
  7. In many cases improving diet, increasing activity levels and changing daily behavior can have a greater influence on chronic disease than any therapy (wearables and the connected home will enable this data to be better integrated into the care continuum).
  8. Retail pharmacy has the potential to be saved if players reinvent the box (variety of services), traffic increases notably and they utilize convenience advantage not to sell soda and chips but to lower costs and be main / regular point of interaction locally for the patient."