5 trends driving innovation in global healthcare

Much of the progress made in healthcare in recent decades stemmed from advancements in biotechnology, but in the years to come, digital technology and artificial intelligence will take over as drivers of innovation.

In its annual Global Innovation Index, released July 24, the UN's World Intellectual Property Organization identified five global trends, all steeped in IT, that will have a significant impact on healthcare.

1. Information revolution: The spread of broadband access and smartphone usage around the world facilitates near-instantaneous sharing of data between patients and providers, enabling remote treatment and expanding clinical databases for use in research and development of new treatments.

2. AI: Now that databases are more comprehensive and advanced computing has become more affordable, AI can be used to predict and diagnose diseases earlier and with increased accuracy.

3. Precision medicine: In combination with expanded clinical databases, a deeper understanding of biochemistry is now enabling the development of personalized, targeted treatments.

4. Consumerism: With increased access to better information and raised expectations as they take on a greater financial stake in their own care, patients are influencing providers and tech companies to offer higher quality, less expensive services.

5. Evolving business models: In contrast to the siloed structure of the past, healthcare stakeholders such as payers, providers and manufacturers are partnering with and investing in one another, making the entire healthcare system more efficient and better aligning incentives across the board.

More articles on innovation:
US is 3rd most innovative nation in UN rankings
Stanford innovation lab, Pinterest launch mental health search tool
Harvard Business Review: A new form of cost-benefit analysis to choose innovations to pursue

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