HealthTech
12 December 2019

How 8 Massachusetts Companies Shaped the 4 Most Disruptive Digital Health Trends of 2019

Written by Kristina Day

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As we wrap up December and look forward to ringing in the new year, the time has come to look back on a transformative year in digital health. From the empowered patient to the digitization of data to cross-industry collaboration, transformative trends are shaping the status of digital health in 2019. 

But four trends stand above the rest as the most disruptive this year: artificial intelligence; telehealth and the internet of medical things; care delivery for underserved populations; and value-based care and the patient-first approach.

Named a top digital health hub in 2019, all eyes were on Massachusetts to set the pace for innovation in 2020 and beyond. Let’s take a look at eight of the companies leading the charge.

Trend 1: Artificial Intelligence

By 2020, medical data will double every 73 days. At this rate, artificial intelligence stands to save medicine and pharma $100 billion annually. The use of artificial intelligence within the healthcare industry has seen steady, rapid growth and is predicted to reach 40% through 2021—to $6.6 billion and more than 50%—to $127 billion—by 2028. This is one of the most talked-about technologies that has the potential to change the way practitioners and doctors operate medical ailments. 

Developing AI machines that can process information and provide decision-making data in the same way as a human does has given rise to an innovative solution improving the speed and accuracy of the diagnosis process, approaches for early treatment, and drug development. The potential of AI in the healthcare industry is immense. The biggest benefit of AI? Reducing and mitigating risk of preventable medical scenarios. 

AI engines achieve this through automating reminders, identifying high risk people and populations, and delivering personalized recommendations based on each person’s unique health data and associated environmental factors. Who are the companies at the forefront of the artificial intelligence revolution?

Buoy Health

Buoy Health aims to provide personalized clinical support through AI technology the moment individuals have a healthcare concern.

Removing the fear and complexity that often confront patients as they tackle a diagnosis, Buoy uses all-in-one technology to navigate and engage patients as it triages them and connects them with resources in the healthcare system. Chatbots are already revolutionizing the world of AI and it is expected to see widespread adoption in the healthcare industry in the coming years. 

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PathAI

PathAI provides AI-powered research tools and services for pathology. The PathAI platform promises substantial improvements to the accuracy of diagnosis and the efficacy of treatment of diseases, leveraging modern approaches in both machine and deep learning.

Through AI implementation, PathAI is developing technology that assists pathologists in making rapid and accurate diagnoses for every patient, every time to ensure receipt of the best possible treatment and the enable them to live their best possible lives.

Trend 2: Telehealth and the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) 

Telehealth services have expanded in recent years to become increasingly differentiated, and primary care platforms are helping patients access more tailored care whenever and wherever they are. Evolution in telemedicine is one of the biggest sources of rapid changes in the U.S. Healthcare System, proving to be a transformative solution in a country where access to service providers is limited. Through data exchange platforms, video chat services, healthcare software development consulting, and real-time remote patient monitoring, telehealth helps to bridge the gap between providers and patients. 

A 2019 update published by Epstein Becker Green suggests increasing interest and acceptance of telehealth services for addressing behavioral health issues. In addition, states have taken action to address many healthcare epidemics with telehealth solutions and Medicaid members living in all 50 states and the District of Columbia now have coverage—at least to some extent—for telehealth services and prescriptions.

Lawmakers have a substantial influence on when and how a physician can provide remote care to patients, so the governmental buy-in is a huge win to pave the path for telehealth solutions’ widespread implementations. 

Various devices and mobile apps have come to play a critical role in telehealth through tracking and preventing chronic illnesses. By combining IoT development with telemedicine technologies, a new Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) has emerged. Healthcare operations are adopting IoMT at a rapid pace, giving rise to improvements in patient care as well as profitability. 

By 2020, it is estimated that 20-30 billion IoMT devices will deploy. With the arrival of these new delivery methods in a market expected to cross $136 billion in 2021, physicians will have a variety of options to provide care in a more effective manner for their patients. What are some of the most promising technologies shaping this lucrative market?

Akili Interactive Labs

It’s time to change the way medicine is designed, delivered, and experienced. At Akili Interactive Labs, effective medicine for serious illnesses can also be fun and engaging. Augmented and Virtual Reality have created advances in the field of healthcare from education to performing surgical procedures. By rendering 3D information in a real-world scenario, AR and VR application development can be high-quality solutions at cost-effective prices.

Akili is utilizing this technology trend to build clinically validated cognitive treatments and assessments delivered in an action video game interface. Bringing together world-class neuroscience with the latest technology and video game entertainment to leverage medical grade science and consumer grade software technology, the company seeks to produce a new type of medical product that offers safe and effective scalable treatment and better patient monitoring across a wide range of mental health and neurological conditions. 

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American Well

American Well is a telehealth platform in the United States and globally, connecting and enabling providers, insurers, and patients to deliver greater access to more affordable and higher quality care. American Well believes that digital care delivery will transform healthcare and offers a single platform to support all telehealth needs, from urgent to acute and post-acute care as well as chronic care management and healthy living.

With 150 million individuals, 55+ health plan partners, 160+ health system partners, and 140+ use cases, American Well is a solution for virtual care equipping clinicians, patients, and the industry that supports them with the tools to realize a better healthcare experience. Through connectivity, integration, engagement, and clinical support, the American Well telehealth platform is one team putting the customer first to deliver awesome results

Trend 3: Care Delivery for Underserved Populations

In the past three years, an estimated $1 billion has been poured into women’s health technology. From 2014-2018, venture capitalists have increased funding of women’s health companies by 812%. In this year alone, FemTech companies are projected to raise a total of $1 billion and, by 2025, the FemTech market is predicted to be worth over $50 billion. The growing size of the aging population is creating an increased demand for tech that aims to improve their health management, including services targeted at both home care solutions and care coordination between providers. 

The healthcare industry has long underserved many of its populations, especially women and the elderly. But 2019 has seen a major turning of the tides. 

The FemTech and Senior Care industries’ rapid growth is encouraging as it signifies not only an increased willingness to invest in women’s health and senior’s health technologies, but also a societal shirt in which topics are transitioning from hushed discussions to cultural norms. As startups pave the way for rapid innovation and demonstrate the need for continued investment in these underserved spaces, healthcare giants are likely to follow suit. 

Aavia

Aavia was born from a passion for solving problems in healthcare and improving female health and wellness. The first-ever physical product and accompanying app to help women take their birth control pill on time, Aavia was built with a women-first approach. Aavia leverages the trends of IoMT technology and mobile health to empower women to be confident and take control of their reproductive health. 

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Devoted Health

Devoted Health is a healthcare company serving seniors, aiming to launch Medicare Advantage plans. The firm’s mission is to help users navigate the healthcare system with personal guides.

The Devoted Health solution puts the focus back on patients and builds relationships rather than barriers. With an emphasis in quality over quantity, Devoted Health makes healthcare easier, more affordable, and a whole lot more caring. Healthcare today can be confusing, expensive, and impersonal—especially for the elderly in society—but Devoted Health looks at that and asks, is that really the best we can do? 

Trend 4- Value-Based Care and the Patient First Approach

The future of healthcare holds spurring growth for value-based initiatives. Patient health accountability is increasingly observing a considerable share at the hands of providers and networks. Healthcare on the wheels of value initiatives and innovation is set to cover miles of efficient care and clinical outcomes. 

As more healthcare stakeholders look to collaboration to spur innovation in the industry, value-based care has come to the forefront. In particular, payers and providers have established new care coordination networks to help reduce overall healthcare costs—with the goal of delivering care that provides better value to patients.

Essentially, value-based care models revolve around the patient’s treatment and how well healthcare providers can improve their quality of care based on certain metrics—including reducing hospital readmissions and improving preventative care. 

Kyruus

Kyruus helps health systems reduce referral misdirection and improves capacity utilization through a suite of search and scheduling products. 25% of referrals are sent to the wrong type of doctor and up to 40% of provider service capacity goes underutilized. One of the fundamental reasons this supply-demand mismatch happens—and the problem the Kyruus solves—is a lack of systematic, high-resolution, and accurate data about the supply side of the market.

The Kyruus provider match platform—providing both search and scheduling solutions—enables health systems to optimize patient-provider matching, boost patient acquisition and conversion, and deliver a consistent patient experience across key points of access. With a network of over 50 health systems, 550 hospitals, and 250,000 providers, Kyruus puts the patient first to improve, transform, and optimize patient access enterprise-wide. 

PatientPing

PatientPing is a national care coordination network connecting healthcare providers with real-time notifications wherever their patients receive care. The company’s network includes physicians, nurses, case managers, and care coordinators across hospitals, emergency departments, ACOs, physician practices, skilled nursing facilities, home health agencies, inpatient rehabilitation centers, and payers.

Powered by the nation’s largest network of admission, discharge, transfer (ADT) data, PatientPing brings together all of a patient’s providers during clinical encounters across all care settings. This integration and collaboration between more than 1,000 hospitals and 5,000 pre- and post-acute care settings helps support more than 9.6 million patients radically improve care encounters. 

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What does the future hold in 2020? 

As we turn the page and close the chapter on 2019, digital health innovators in Massachusetts are ringing in the new year and leading healthcare into a new decade. Following the lead of these eight disrupters, digital health is poised to transform the future of healthcare in 2020. So while this month may mark the end of a transformative year, it is just the beginning of a brand new decade of digital health transformation. 

 

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