2015 was a great year for the healthcare industry. Serious problems have brought serious attention, leading innovators – who were often experts in other sectors – to bring an otherwise slow-moving sector up to speed. But, so far, the groundwork has been laid, and in 2016, that pace of innovation will only accelerate.
At 4D Healthware, we are excited. Here are four things to look forward to in 2016.
- Wearable devices will increasingly incorporate nanotechnologies. Nanotechnology has been called the “next big thing” in healthcare for a while – but the simple fact is that the enabling technologies did not exist to realize its promise. However, technological advances, as well as a demand for less intrusive procedures, to create important breakthroughs.One such example: Google X Lab and Novartis are designing contacts that measure glucose levels through the user’s tears. It’s unclear to folks outside the two companies when these lenses will hit the market, but in July, the Tech Times reported that Google is already designing packaging.
In 2016, we’re likely to see more of these products discussed and maybe even a few come to market.
- The health app and wearable market is not even close to being saturated. It’s easy to look at the plethora of wearable devices and healthcare apps on the market and think that things are at a peak. It’s not even close. We’re in the beginning innings of seeing how devices that we use every day can change to help us better understand our health (e.g., the contact lens glucometers above).In 2016, more apps will come to market, learning from how consumers have interacted with their predecessors.
- Physicians will increasingly need to become technologists. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services have made it clear – it will continue to emphasize preventative care and scrutinize lab tests. At the same time, there are new reimbursements to encourage providers to use technology to provide better care. Case in point: the $40 per month payment program for chronic care management.In 2016, providers will become more adept at using outside technologies to manage chronic care and minimize wasteful spending and time.
- The growth of health care spending will decelerate. “In 2014, U.S. health care spending increased 5.3 percent following growth of 2.9 percent in 2013.” But new initiatives and efficient modern health technologies will start to help reverse this trend. More people will also have access to preventative care.In 2016, health care spending will rise – but we expect at a slower pace than in 2014.