Healthcare is currently transforming, with new developments challenging existing structures. The rise of technology not only brings new opportunities to healthcare providers and suppliers it is also empowering patients. Personalization and individuality are in high demand – two expectations that are met by eHealth. Upgrading treatment or preventive models and integrating them with connected devices grants players in the industry a competitive advantage. However, not only consumer’s perspectives are changing, the supply side recognizes the need to innovate as well. In 2017, worldwide mobile health market revenue will total 22 billion Euro, with digital technology reforming the industry. Digital health that supports in self-managing chronic illness, giving patients the possibility to self-diagnose, and help caregivers in coordinating better will have a massive impact on determining future industry leaders.

Cutting-edge startups are a major contributor to the metamorphosis the industry is experiencing, driving the emerging technology behind it. StartUs Insights, our unit dedicated to Startup Driven Intelligence, analyzed 3000+ startups thus recognized several innovation areas that will significantly influence eHealth in the near future. To provide companies in the industry with the knowledge they need to gain a competitive advantage we decided to shed light on the most disruptive technologies and their applications. As our focus lies on startup driven innovation we provide examples of leading companies in their respective field to highlight existing cooperation potential.

Mobile Health (mHealth)

Mobile devices and applications in medicine and public health act as an enabler for such services as remote-monitoring, e-visits, and e-prescribing. Presently, mHealth is considered to be at the heart of the eHealth revolution as it is the signifier of a momentous change in patient behavior. By 2017, 1.7 billion people are predicted to download health related apps indicating the high demand. Despite the opportunities, such as improved outcomes and reduced costs, mHealth offers, securing devices and apps will be a challenge. Solving this challenge will improve confidence and is key for mHealth to be successfully adopted.

Austrian startup mySugr, which recently made headlines due to its exit, gathers more than 1 million users affected by diabetes. The company concentrates on app-based, all-around care for patients by managing the disorder through providing understandable data. Along with the complimentary apps, mySugr Scanner & mySugr Academy, the startup combines coaching, therapy management, unlimited test-strips, automated data tracking, and a seamless integration with medical devices.

Mobile Health (mHealth)

Will this innovation area disrupt the industry?

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Despite AI has not yet been extensively employed in the healthcare industry, the potential to disrupt current practices is existing and will alter the way we are treated existentially. Within the next ten years, software algorithms are expected to carry out tasks that generally require human intelligence, opening a range of applications: from chatbots providing diagnostics based on symptom input to helping physicians automate image based diagnostics.

BioTech startup FDNA is one example of a company implementing AI in the health sector. The startup allows physicians to determine a patient’s disease simply by analyzing their face. Making use of deep learning, the company transforms big data into actionable insights. FDNA’s Face2Gene app can be used to deliver genetic evaluations based solely on uploaded photos.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Will this innovation area disrupt the industry?

Big Data & Predictive Analytics

In the eHealth sector, big data takes a leading part. The technology is crucial to the industry to enable the identification of risk factors, patient behavior, and early signs of disease or illness in order to take preventive measures. Predictive analytics will furthermore permit the emergence of personalized care plans and help identify high and low-risk individuals, decreasing hospital admission. Overall, big data acts as the backbone for both predictive and prescriptive analytics.

In order to meet the growing demand for data, startup Health Verity was founded in 2014 to offer a cloud-based platform that serves as a marketplace for data buyers and data providers. The platform’s purpose is to help clients discover, license and link patient data across the widest range of top tier data provider.

Big Data & Predictive Analytics

Will this innovation area disrupt the industry?

Internet of Medical Things (IoMT)

The Internet of Medical things will play a key role in facilitating the implementation of future health practices such as diagnostics and condition monitoring. With the industry’s current efforts to reduce costs, the IoMT gains, even more, significance as its connected solutions lower costs and improve efficiency in healthcare. In the future, both health care providers and recipients will benefit from connected mHealth devices as higher quality services will be delivered while costs are cut.

Another startup focused on the support of patients affected by diabetes is Berlin-based Insulin Angel. The company leverages the power of the Internet of Things to offer a proximity and temperature device that notifies users through an app before medication reaches a critical temperature while also sending notifications in case a person lost or forgot to take their medication.

Internet of Medical Things (IoMT)

Will this innovation area disrupt the industry?

Robotics

Robotics is one of the innovation areas that are already implemented in healthcare today. The applications range from robotic arms for amputees and micro robots repairing damage from the inside to robo-assistants used in surgeries. While advancements are still under way telepresence robots are expected to remotely examine patients in the near future, making more time available to medical professionals.

German startup Reactive Robotics develops an adaptive robotic system for critically ill patients. As this solution provides a new therapeutic intervention when the supply of health professionals is sluggish, it will aid in tackling the inefficiency problem healthcare is currently facing.

Robotics

Will this innovation area disrupt the industry?

Wearables

The increasing use of wearables offers the potential to use the information from these devices to analyze a patient’s health status, or even to be used in treatment. Examples of bio-sensing wearables can vary from devices that monitor glucose levels, blood pressure or other health indicators to digital hearing aids among others. Wearables and implantable sensors will also be key in integrating eHealth technologies in people’s daily lives seamlessly.

One example for a startup active in the neuroscience field is Personal Neuro Devices. Founded in 2010, the startup’s focus is the development of a brain-computer interface that has access to a cloud analytics platform. Ultimately, their solution Spark Headset is a new way to keep track of brain recovery after a concussion and treat associated symptoms.

Wearables

Will this innovation area disrupt the industry?

3D Imaging, Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR)

3D imaging fundamentally increases the current state of physicians to view organs and tissue via scan, especially in conjunction with AR and VR, which can be a critical factor in the success of surgeries. Using AR, VR and 3D imaging live will lead to better precision as surgeons are able to see organs accurately, thus minimizing the chances of damage. Additionally, 3D imaging and enabled glasses will reduce eye fatigue during the operation, while it will also give healthcare professionals a more advanced and effective educational experience.

Swiss startup MindMaze offers a solution to patients that suffer from a stroke, had a spinal cord injury, or who had a part of their body amputated. By combining Virtual Reality with brain imaging and gaming technologies the company works on deepening human/machine interaction with the help of neuroscience.

3D Imaging, Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR)

Will this innovation area disrupt the industry?

3D Printing

Though 3D Printing has yet to make its big impact, investment in this technology is projected to grow substantially from just 1.6% in 2016 to around 20% in 2026. While prosthetics and dental implants have already been successfully printed, the technology has transformative potential, making it possible to personalize medication dosing. Another possibility 3D Printing offers is using various drug layers to obtain a personalized pill that treats all the conditions a specific patient suffers from. Arguably the most ambitious goal for this technology, however, is to gain the capability to print living tissue and organs – a goal expected to be reached within the next 20 years.

3D Bioprinting Solutions, a Russian startup founded in 2013, has already managed to print a mouse thyroid gland and its next goal is much more ambitious: fabricating a functioning kidney by 2018. To accomplish this goal, the startup uses stem cells which are combined with hydrogels and then printed layer by layer.

3D Printing

Will this innovation area disrupt the industry?

The eHealth sector holds a promising future, quite different from its current state. The relative high costs resulting from a falling relative productivity will be counteracted with disruptive technologies like computer aided diagnostics freeing up time for medical professionals, wearables that will provide an abundance of information, predictive analytics which will be used to estimate risks to take preventive action, and simulation learning which will prepare medical professionals to work with humans. As these are only a few of the emerging innovation areas we discovered, there is no doubt that innovation in the digital health industry will benefit both: companies and patients. Companies that act proactively and partner with startups to help them innovate and adjust their business model to gain a competitive advantage will emerge as industry leaders. StartUs Insights assists this process by providing actionable innovation intelligence on startup driven innovation in this sector.


StartUs Insights provides actionable intelligence on startup driven innovation.
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Author Andra Cataniciu|Design Luca Nagy|Executive Editor Susi Wallner|Copy Editor David Prasser, Iryna Bursuk|Web Development Reza Rastgoo