What happens when you combine the two words health and technology? You get something called healthtech. In short: a new industrial sector led by startups that use new technologies to improve healthcare services as a whole. This includes services ranging from health insurance to telemedicine and hospital management software.
What do healthtech startups offer?
As stated in the mission and values statements of most healthtech startups, their goal is to ensure that patients receive a better service and have an optimal “patient experience”.
Some of the methods these companies use to achieve this objective are:
- Make medical appointments through mobile applications.
- Wearable devices, also called“wearables”, which are watches, bracelets and other accessories used to monitor different health parameters. Many of them are only tasked with collecting data, but others are already being used to make surprisingly accurate diagnoses.
- Video games whose narratives and demands are useful during a patient’s recovery.
It is impressive to see that the forum 100 Startups Health received more than 150 applications from healthtech startups in December 2021. We are talking, by the way, about the largest space for innovation in digital health in Spain, the last edition of which took place in Valencia.
Challenges in the healthcare sector that healthtech companies aim to address
The forum we have just mentioned welcomes us to its page with the following statement: “Healthcare models are not sustainable. They need to be radically transformed and healthcare needs to be digitized.” Among other initiatives, the aim is for technology to become the axis around which a transformation process is structured that will transcend all barriers.
Here come the numbers: more than €6 billion was invested in healthtech in Europe in 2020. This figure was much higher than previous years. Something that is but one step in the overall goal with respect to healthcare: a supersonic digitalization that keeps costs at a reasonable level where efforts from scaleups and startups combine.
And what are the challenges that healthcare technology aims to address? Well, precisely the ones you are thinking of (it’s not that we are reading your thoughts through cookies, it’s just common sense):
- Chronification of diseases
- Data collapse
- Accessibility to healthcare
- Aging population
Many of the solutions that only a few years ago were the stuff of science fiction novels or superhero comics are now not only viable, but have become Christmas presents for people of all ages, such as pedometers that measure blood sugar, lung capacity or heart rate and deposit all this data in our cell phones.
The leap that still needs to be made is considerable, but we can be sure that healthtech will not only feature in the future, but is already part of the present.
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