Putting the heart in health tech is key to saving lives
When it comes to bedside manner, my phone has got it covered. Bedside, desk-side, meal-side – it rarely leaves me.
What it’s not so good at is making me feel better when it gives me bad news.
Tech is so accessible nowadays – compared to the often hefty waiting times to see human doctors – that it seems an obvious solution to some of our healthcare problems.
But in a sector that is quite literally life and death, there are definitely things that need to be considered to make sure it’s a healthy relationship in the long term.
As a hypochondriac there’s no one more excited than I am about the boom in health tech.
From using data to cure disease to video consultations with GPs, the merging of healthcare and technology is blowing my tiny mind – which is fine because I’ll probably be able to 3D print myself a new one before too long.
Studies have shown that AI is advancing to the point where it can diagnose disease better than a doctor.
But it doesn’t have humanity and being treated with dignity when the chips are down makes all the difference.
Many of us will have been given bad news by a doctor at some point in our lives – whether for ourselves or about a loved one – and you always remember who was kind and who didn’t seem to care.
So, in an industry where humanity is key, does rising tech mean losing the heart from healthcare?
Hopefully not. If anything, taking some of the less critical appointments off the NHS could give frazzled doctors a bit of a break.
It’s not that surprising that when doctors are tired, stressed and have fifty patients in urgent need of attention they don’t always have time to talk things through properly.
Tech also gives people more power over their own health – like the contact lenses that measure diabetics’ blood sugar levels.
A report from Tractica estimates that by 2020 more than 78.5 million people will use home health tech.
With all of these opportunities on the horizon it’s clearly a massive market for tech businesses.
However it’s important that those wanting to get involved don’t forget that more than any other sector healthcare can’t just be about business.
Tech has the potential to democratise the industry, bringing fast, accurate, efficient healthcare to everyone. Or it could end up meaning that only those that can afford it benefit from the latest advances.
This morning we have announced that we’re hunting for the tech and healthcare innovators for our upcoming ‘101 Pioneers of Health Tech’ list. The companies we’re hearing from will be the ones helping shape this future.
Of course it’s important to have a good business model too but I’m hoping that what we’ll see will prove that it’s possible to make sure that it’s about more than that.
Whether it’s through great UX – making an app really easy to use for people with a whole range of needs – or by making something really nifty and affordable, this is a tipping point and a chance for tech to show it cares.
If you’re creating a company that’s literally saving lives, or have used some healthtech that made a difference to your life, then let us know – and keep up the good work.