Healthcare Trends 2020

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Healthcare Trends - Data Sharing

Articles published by MIT Technology Review, Stony Brook University, Healthcare Weekly, Accu-Chek, and International Business Times indicate that several organizations are using people's health-related data in the prediction of illnesses, diseases, or medical conditions. These organizations, however, are mostly universities and established corporate entities, not corporate startup teams or non-traditional health startups. Two startups that are using people's health-related data to predict illness are Medopad and AIME.

Sources Backing Up The Trend

1. MIT Technology Review

  • An article published by MIT Technology Review in May 2019 indicates that researchers at the Nokia Bell Labs in Cambridge, United Kingdom, found that digital records of grocery bills can be utilized in predicting or identifying geographic areas with high prevalence of high blood sugar, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure.
  • The classifier that the researchers were able to develop using grocery bills from Tesco in London has a 91% accuracy rate and the potential to be utilized as "a cheap and scalable tool for health surveillance."

2. Stony Brook University

  • An article published by Stony Brook University in June 2019 indicates that researchers from Stony Brook University and Penn Medicine found that Facebook posts, with owner or patient consent, can be used in predicting 21 conditions and diseases, including hypertension, diabetes, depression, and anxiety.
  • According to this article, there is a link between diseases and language patterns, and Facebook posts are more reliable than demographic information in predicting some diseases.

3. Healthcare Weekly

  • An article published by Healthcare Weekly in March 2019 indicates that the University of Michigan and Apple have teamed up to launch the Michigan Predictive Activity and Clinical Trajectories (MIPACT), a study that looks into whether Apple Watch data, along with other health information, can be used to predict whether a person will develop a disease.
  • A thousand individuals have so far enrolled to participate in the study, but it is expected that several thousands more will join in the following year.

4. Accu-Chek

  • An article published by Accu-Check in January 2019 indicates that Roche and IBM Watson Health have developed a new predictive model that makes use of real-world data and that offers a more accurate way of predicting chronic kidney disease, a long-term, diabetes-related complication.
  • The article highlights the increasing value of predictive analytics and real-world data in the area of diabetes care.

5. International Business Times

  • An article published by the International Business Times in May 2019 indicates that for big data and machine learning to accurately predict diseases, there should be sufficient retrospective data and non-traditional health data such as syndromic surveillance data and social media data.
  • The geotagging capture technology of social media enables the mapping of outbreak hotspots.

Startups Demonstrating The Trend

1. Medopad

  • Medopad, a London-based startup that has earned the support of pharmaceutical company Bayer and is on track to become a unicorn, has developed an app that compiles and analyzes health data from patient wearables, mobile devices, and medical bodies to predict chronic diseases.
  • Leveraging both big data and machine learning, the startup aspires to "understand, treat, and ultimately prevent ill health."
  • Medopad recently acquired rival Sherbit, a startup that also utilizes personal data collected from sensors, apps, and devices in uncovering health insights.


  • AIME, which stands for Artificial Intelligence in Medical Epidemiology, is a startup based in the United States that leverages machine learning and big data analytics to predict in real time the time and location of infectious disease outbreaks. The end goal is to detect outbreaks in advance and keep them in check.
  • AIME, the system, has a bot named REDINT that scours over 40 databases of weather, geographical, and epidemiological data.
  • According to Dr. Helmi Zakariah of AIME, AIME's deployment throughout the healthcare sector is crucial to its success. The system will be ineffective if it does not have "a continuous stream of new disease incidence data" that it can use to continue learning.

Research Strategy

While we were able to find two relevant startups, we were unable to find sources that strongly support the trend that non-traditional health startups or corporate startup teams are using people's health-related data in predicting illness. Several organizations are using real-world data, such as grocery bills, Facebook posts, and data from wearables, in predicting diseases, but most of them are universities and established corporate entities, not startups. This is what we have gathered from examining sources published in 2019.

To find the desired sources, we initially looked for articles or reports discussing the prediction of illnesses, diseases, outbreaks, and medical conditions. There are several sources that cover the topic, but we were able to narrow the number down by considering only those that mention or imply usage of real-world data, and that match the specified geographies. As previously mentioned, we came across only two relevant startups, Medopad and AIME. The rest of the sources we found involved the Nokia Bell Labs, the Stony Brook University and Penn Medicine, the University of Michigan and Apple, and Roche and IBM Watson Health. We decided to present the findings in these sources above, as they still support the trend of using people's health-related data in disease prediction.

Statistics supporting the specified trend are, unfortunately, not publicly available. We looked for surveys of startups employing big data analytics in healthcare, but was unable to find any. We looked for qualitative information as well by looking for expert opinions, but this approach proved ineffective too. The only additional sources we were able to find that we believe are helpful are articles indicating that people are becoming more willing to share their personal health-related data. Both a study published in BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making and an article published by Modern Healthcare indicate this.
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Healthcare Trends - Reversing the Technology Gap

There is an ongoing trend of mistrust among consumers when it comes to digital health technologies, which is hindering adoption. Many sources, surveys, and studies back up the existence of this trend, including those published by Rock Health, Baker McKenize (a law firm), and the Switzerland Department of Health Sciences and Technology. Digital health start-ups, such as Ciitizen and Omada Health, are working to foster trust in these technologies among consumers by allowing consumers to own and control their own data and by fully complying with privacy law standards for the healthcare industry.

Sources That Back-Up This Trend

#1: 'Tech companies see health data as a huge opportunity, but people don’t trust them' (2019)

  • This is an article published in 2019 by CNBC, which provides survey analysis of data published by Rock Health.
  • This article discusses survey results showing that Americans don't trust tech companies with their health data and this is further spilling over into losing trust with other companies in the health sector as well, as the level of consumer trust overall has fallen.
  • While consumers report trusting some tech companies with their health data more than others (e.g Google vs. IBM), the article also reports that some tech companies playing in the health data space are being financially hindered due to this general lack of trust. For example, 23andMe (a DNA testing company) has been performing slower than expected and CEO, Anne Wojcicki believes this may be due to consumer privacy concerns.

#2: 'UK consumer trust is proving a barrier to the adoption of digital healthcare technologies' (2019)

  • This is an article published in 2019 by Baker McKenzie, a law firm.
  • This article dives deep into the topic of consumer distrust in digital healthcare technologies and how it leads to the hindered adoption of such technologies.
  • The article notes that less than half of consumers in the U.K. are trusting of digital health products and less than half feel these technologies are a good thing.
  • 57% of U.K. survey respondents felt that digital health technologies should be limited to administrative functions and should not be incorporated into care.
  • Only 10% of the consumers surveyed have an understanding of how digital health technologies use and share their personal data.
  • The article states: "Consumers remain unconvinced, as mistrust and misunderstandings have made respondents reticent to share their data [...] As a result, many consumers say they plan to become more selective about what digital health products they consent to use."

#3: 'Elements of Trust in Digital Health Systems: Scoping Review' (2018)

  • This is a 2018 academic study conducted by the Department of Health Sciences and Technology in Switzerland.
  • This study aimed to understand the causes and barriers (factors) of trust among patients and health care professionals when it comes to digital health technology. The study states: "Often, some of these same factors were recognized as relevant for the acceptance of a particular technology. By acceptance, we mean adoption and use grounded in or at least co-occurring with trust on the part of users."
  • This report also says that "a number of studies reported excessive costs (34 studies) and limited accessibility (55 studies) as potential barriers to trust and, therefore, acceptance."
  • Overall, the study concluded that digital health is dependent on trust in order to succeed and that personal, technological, and institutional factors all play a role in whether this trust is hindered or supported among stakeholders.

Examples of Digital Health Startups Working to Foster Trust

  • Ciitizen: According to Deloitte, one way health technology companies can build trust among consumers and encourage them to share their data is to let them 'own' their health data. Deloitte points to startup company, Ciitizen, which is working towards giving cancer patients access to their own health records by developing technologies that facilitate this and allow the user to opt to share those records with their care team and researchers.
  • Omada Health: A 2019 article written by Sean Duffy, co-founder of Omada Health, notes that a key to digital health companies gaining trust among consumers is by "complying with regulations and requirements for protecting [personal health information]", for example, the HIPPA. Omada Health is a behavioral health startup founded in 2011. Omada's website states that the company operates "in accordance with all applicable privacy and data protection laws" and that the company takes patient privacy seriously.
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Healthcare Trends - Real Time Interactions

Stuward VÜ and Eedoctors are two recently launched services based on remote medical consultations which will further benefit from the roll-out of 5G technology. Meanwhile, a variety of publications in the UK and US recently published articles that substantiate the trend in healthcare towards online doctor's visits as enabled through faster 5G technology.


  • In July of 2019, UK-based health technology organization Liverpool5G published a comprehensive report discussing how 5G will transform local health and social care services, adding that 39% of patients managing multiple conditions have reported that online consultations with doctors as enabled by 5G would be a welcome option.
  • That same month, US-based healthcare trade FierceHealthcare highlighted how 5G technology will enable the near real-time and high-quality video required for more effective remote medical consultations, a particular benefit for rural communities, while adding that two-thirds of US health care providers are developing telehealth programs.
  • Also in July of 2019, UK technology company Telit discussed how 5G technology will "essentially eliminate" the need for patents to make many trips to their doctors given the enhanced ability for remote diagnosis, adding that telemedicine has been forecast to grow at a CAGR of 16.5% from 2017 to 2023 in parallel with the roll-out of 5G.
  • Earlier this year, in March of 2019, US-based social impact publication The Introducer Magazine discussed how remote patient monitoring and consultations as supported by 5G will better enable a patient's family and caregivers to consult with doctors online regarding treatment plans.
  • Meanwhile, in June of 2019, UK-based healthcare trade Building Better Health briefly discussed how online medical consultations using 5G could be conducted through a variety of mechanisms, including laptops, tablets or phones.

Stuward VÜ

  • Switzerland-based healthcare company Stuward recently launched a telemedicine application named Stuward VÜ amid the roll-out of 5G.
  • Specifically, the service helps connect independent medical professionals with those seeking online consultations.
  • This remote consultation service was created in part to help doctors better compete with the much larger telemedicine companies, that generally have significantly larger marketing budgets and other administrative resources.


  • Swiss company Eedoctors has been noted for creating the first virtual doctor’s office using smartphones, as service that has been further enabled through the expansion of 5G connectivity.
  • Notably, the company established this app in order to enable formal diagnoses through virtual consultations, which had been a challenge for previous telemedicine companies given bandwidth issues and other limitations.
  • Meanwhile, this remote consultation service provides online visits with general practitioners and emergency physicians while still being covered by Swiss health insurance.
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Healthcare Trends - Supply Chain and Logistics

Several sources in the public domain, particularly articles published by Supply & Demand Chain Executive, SpendEdge, Becker's Hospital Review, and Managed Healthcare Executive, indicate that players in the healthcare industry, especially hospitals, are paying more attention to supply chain management and logistics. To survive and succeed in the industry, hospitals or healthcare systems are increasingly finding it necessary to tackle supply chain and logistical problems head on, and leverage available technologies such as blockchain, artificial intelligence, drones, and the Internet of Things (IoT). Pensiamo and Matternet are two startups that are helping healthcare providers in this area.

Information Supporting the Supply Chain and Logistics Trend in Healthcare

  • According to an article published by Supply & Demand Chain Executive, a business technology magazine catering to supply chain executives, many healthcare executives are shifting their attention to supply chain management to combat increasing costs, streamline work processes, and improve transparency.
  • One technology that is being explored or used by healthcare companies to solve supply chain problems is blockchain. Blockchain technology has the ability to track custody of items as they move from the manufacturer to the hospital and from the hospital to the patient. It has the potential to improve item usage and movement visibility, streamline supply chain processes, reduce waste, and increase efficiency.
  • According to SpendEdge, a company offering procurement market intelligence, market conditions such as shrinking reimbursements for medical products and services have made it increasingly difficult for hospitals to succeed and be profitable, and have made it imperative for hospitals to keep up with the most recent trends in healthcare supply chain management.
  • Four Tier 1 healthcare companies in the United States, in fact, have been chosen to uphold the country's Drug Supply Chain Security Act and each develop a blockchain network for real-time product monitoring, which, in turn, will improve supply chain transparency, inventory management, and distribution data retrieval.
  • An article published by Becker's Hospital Review, a leading hospital magazine, shows that several drone technology companies are exploring how drones can be used to improve the delivery of medicines, medical supplies, medical samples, blood, and even human organs between hospital facilities.
  • Another article published by Becker's Hospital Review indicates that there are several opportunities for the IoT to be used in the improvement of the healthcare supply chain.
  • One area where the IoT shows promise is the reduction of manual supply chain tasks. IoT, with its product tracking capabilities, has the potential to free frontline staff from tedious or repetitive inventory-related activities.
  • A survey shows that 42% of healthcare industry respondents believe that "supply chain work takes too much time away from patient care," and 45% of respondents believe manual supply chain work has an adverse effect on patient care.
  • Based on an article published by Managed Healthcare Executive, a magazine targeting healthcare executives, 98% of healthcare leaders surveyed by Syft, a Connecticut-based supply chain management solution provider, assign a moderate or high priority to supply chain management. This survey result indicates that supply chain management is a pressing issue.
  • According to this article, artificial intelligence has the potential to reduce forecasting errors by 20% to 50% and improve hospital margins by as much as 3%. Kishore Bala, Syft's chief technology officer, says machine learning can revolutionize how materials managers at hospitals perform their job.

Startups Demonstrating the Trend

1. Pensiamo

  • Pensiamo, a technology spinoff of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), has recently developed CognitiveRx, a tool for predicting drug supply disruption risk. The tool was developed in partnership with supply chain technology provider Premier.
  • Powered by machine learning, CognitiveRx is a valuable tool that hospitals can use in the rapid identification of solutions related to purchasing and inventory.
  • UPMC reportedly will be the first hospital system to use CognitiveRx. It will be using the tool to closely track market demand, predict drug shortage, and maintain proper inventory levels, all with the end goals of minimizing disturbances in patient care and optimizing cost management.
  • Jim Szilagy, chief supply chain officer of UPMC and chief executive officer of Pensiamo, says that with CognitiveRx, patients across the United States will have a higher chance of receiving the medication they need at the time they need it.
  • Premier will soon offer CognitiveRx to its member health systems and hospitals.

2. Matternet

  • Drones or unmanned aerial vehicles are increasingly being explored as a solution to logistical problems in healthcare. The United Parcel Service (UPS), for example, is currently partnering with California-based drone technology startup Matternet to work on the delivery of medical samples across WakeMed Health & Hospitals' campus in Raleigh, North Carolina.
  • The project is part of a pilot program of the Federal Aviation Administration to test practical drone applications. Lessons learned from the project will be used to assess how delivery services at hospitals across the United States can be improved with the use of drones.
  • The people working on the project expect that with drone delivery, same-day and on-demand delivery of medical specimens and samples will be possible, and consequently, hospital costs will be reduced and the patient experience will improve. WakeMed currently uses courier cars for transporting most medical samples.
  • Andreas Raptopoulos, chief executive officer of Matternet, says that with Matternet's technology, hospital systems can "transport medical items at an unprecedented level of speed and predictability, resulting in improved patient care and operational savings."
  • It was in 2015 in Zurich, Switzerland that Matternet first tested a drone delivery system for transporting pathology and blood samples. Since then, Matternet has significantly expanded its Swiss operations and has conducted over 1,700 drone flights to execute over 850 deliveries of patient samples.
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Healthcare Trends - AI Computing

Three sources that supports the statement that, with time, AI and computers will make healthcare diagnosis and treatment more accurate and effective are the analysis provided by Harvard Business Review, the interview with 28 healthcare executives from Disruptor Daily, and the analysis presented by Health Europa. Two startup companies that are discussing the implementation of AI to improve healthcare diagnosis through scanning devices or centralized health records are iCarbonX and PathAI.

1. Harvard Business Review

  • An analysis of the impact of artificial intelligence computing in healthcare was made by Harvard Business Review, where it supports the trend's statement that the implementation of AI and machine learning won't be fast, but will bring several opportunities to the healthcare industry.
  • The benefits it will bring include allowing the specialist to make better clinical decisions, improve the capacity of their research and development through the collection of customer data, make a better diagnosis of a medical condition, etc.
  • Additionally, AI computing tools designed for diagnosing will continue evolving, and updating the information, which will make the diagnosis better and better with time.
  • However, as the trend believes, it won't happen overnight, mainly because it will need FDA approval, it will take time to develop enough trust on an AI diagnosis, it will require regulations to track down any mistake without affecting credibility, and some physicians will be reluctant to implement computer diagnosis tools for fear of being replaced.

2. Disruptor Daily

  • Disruptor Daily made a list of insights about the impact that AI computing will have on healthcare based on the opinion of 28 industry experts and executives from the top healthcare companies.
  • Most of the statements agreed with the trend's affirmation that AI will make healthcare diagnosis and treatment more accurate.
  • Olive's CEO, Sean Lane, said that AI will help healthcare professionals focus on researching and creating better drugs and therapies to provide better treatments.
  • Laura Marble, vice-president of Michigan's Blue Cross Blue Shield confirmed that one of the greater benefits that AI computing brings is allowing healthcare professionals to give more accurate and faster diagnosis, evaluating their patients with more detail and precision reducing human errors, allowing remote medicine, improving the medical experience of the patient and ultimately decreasing costs for the patient and the industry.
  • The executives from Point-of-Care Ultrasound at Philips, Behavioral Signals,, VIDA, and the rest of the companies interviewed agree that AI will help accelerate the diagnosis, improve the diagnosis and treatment, improve the results, and allow healthcare practitioners to have more time for complex cases, research, and reduce human error.

3. Health Europa

  • Health Europa presented an analysis made by Joerg Aumueller from Siemens Healthineers, about the impact that AI will have in the healthcare industry.
  • According to Aumueller, one of the biggest challenges faced in healthcare is the growing amount of data, which can affect diagnosis accuracy.
  • At the moment, the healthcare industry is already implementing AI-powered applications in the background of their operations, and their scanning devices, to acquire accurate medical images of a patient's history and the patient's scans, which can be collected and organized.
  • AI has enabled physicians to make medical image interpretations through "augmented reading aids" that allow the doctor to understand the information from a patient's scan and analyzed in based on information that has been already analyzed in the past, making the diagnosis faster.
  • Siemens Healthineers created the AI-Rad Companion Chest CT4 to help radiologists highlighting, quantify, and measure anatomies and abnormalities and collect data more effectively.
  • AI is also being used for imaging diagnosis in genetics, labs, pathology, and other healthcare areas as it facilitates decision-making and improves processes and diagnosis.
  • Finally, AI helps with diagnosis as it allows making decisions based on the data collected from the patient's history.


  • iCarbonX is a healthcare startup company that created a patient data platform to collect the patient's information, monitor, understand, analyze, and improve the lives of its users through technology.
  • The platform uses artificial intelligence combined with the patients' medical history, behavioral, and biological data to create a map of human health based on information collected from patients all over the world.
  • The information collected is then used to learn from diseases, classify conditions, make more accurate diagnoses, and provide better treatments for the users.


  • PathAI was listed as one of the top startup companies disrupting the healthcare industry with AI.
  • Path AI's goal is to use artificial intelligence to help improve the diagnosis of cancer and solve pathology problems from patients.
  • Path AI uses the collected from many years and combine it with artificial intelligence to integrate technologies that improve decision-making and treatment thanks to a more accurate diagnosis.
  • According to Adhitya Khosla, CTO of the company, PathAI will help pathologists through algorithms that extract images from the clients' blood, tissues, or scans to detect cancer, decreasing human error rate and detecting cancer earlier.