Healthtech: what is it, its uses and applications?
Technology, in general, is increasingly present in our lives. In all sectors there are technological advances that are changing our daily lives: smartphones, home automation, smart watches, cars with more and more technology, internet of things…
The field of health has been a field where technology, in one way or another, has always been present. In recent years, and especially in the wake of the pandemic, the field of health has experienced a technological boom. On the one hand, the mentality of decision-makers has changed, making it clear that the adoption of technology was (and is) necessary. On the other hand, patients have experienced first-hand the fragility of a system centred on health centres and, in some cases, somewhat reluctant to adopt new technologies.
But what is healthtech really?
Healthech is the union of two concepts: health and tech.
According to the WHO, healthtech can be defined as “the application of organised knowledge and skills in the form of devices, drugs, vaccines, procedures and systems developed to solve a health problem and improve the quality of life”.
Healthtech and medtech: similar but not the same
The concepts of healthech and medtech are often confused, as there is some overlap between the two. The WHO defines medtech as “the application of knowledge and skills in the form of tools, medicines, procedures and systems developed to solve a health problem and improve the quality of people’s health”.
Thus, medtech is a narrower concept, as it is concerned with the use of technologies focused on treating a condition or diagnosing a disease. On the other hand, healthtech is a much broader concept, as it is the application of technology to the field of health (preventive medicine, medical and clinical data collection, treatment monitoring, improved communication, etc.), without being limited purely to the process of a disease or its prevention. For example, healthtech also includes all solutions related to wellness (wellness applications).
What is healthtech looking for?
The application of technology in the health sector seeks to change the current model, revolutionise it and improve it (more slowly or more quickly). Technology will make it possible to evolve and achieve an economically sustainable model without losing, or even gaining, quality.
Examples of positive impact of healthtech application
- Empowering the patient
More information, better monitoring, more personalised treatment… All of this under the supervision of technology developed for medical purposes.
- Optimisation in the management of health systems
Increasingly pressured and strained health systems need technology to automate processes and improve service quality while containing costs. Healthcare technology plays a key role in the transition to modern health systems.
- Improving and facilitating patient healing processes
Controlling these processes allows corrections to be made, treatments to be personalised, and times to be accelerated.
- Preventing before curing
The collection of huge amounts of medical data makes it possible to anticipate events (diseases) and to move from reactive medicine to preventive medicine.
Benefits of applying technology in the health field
Health is perhaps a more conservative field than other sectors, where technological change is more difficult. On the one hand, it is a highly regulated sector and, on the other, there is still a certain scepticism about giving more prominence to technology. However, the near future of health and healthcare involves adopting different technologies that will allow it to transform itself into a model whose days are numbered.
Thus, the application of technology in the field of healthcare has many benefits:
- Data analysis.
Right now, health systems have huge amounts of unprocessed data. Data is collected but not translated into information. Technology could enable information and conclusions to be drawn from the data collected. This data can be clinical (obtained in the hospital itself or through wearables that the patient always carries with them) or management data (transformation of hospitals towards smart buildings to improve hospital management in general).
This is where different technologies come into play, such as the aforementioned wearables, IoT in the transformation of hospitals into smart buildings and, without a doubt, artificial intelligence to analyse all the data collected.
- Real-time information exchange
Technology will make it possible to break down the isolation and lack of communication in the healthcare system, whether it be healthcare-healthcare or healthcare-patient. On the one hand, communication between health professionals is often inefficient and even through channels that are not very secure or opaque in relation to data processing, such as Whatsapp or Telegram. Medical technology can help to improve the efficiency and security of this communication.
On the other hand, doctor-patient communication is often too “protocol-based”, scarce and, on many occasions, ineffective. Technology can help to simplify and ensure understanding by the patient, the patient’s environment and facilitate the flow of two-way communication.
- Improving the patient experience
Using technology to measure and capture data across the entire patient care system gives healthcare organisations a holistic view of their performance. Technology also helps automate that measurement so that organisations can continually review their results, identify problems that need to be fixed, and discover ways to improve patient care and experience. In other words, “humanising” healthcare.
- Decentralising the healthcare system
Technology can help empower patients and put them at the centre of the healthcare system. For years there has been an attempt to move the centre of the system from the health centres to the patient. Technology makes this process possible: improving treatment monitoring and compliance, improving the recovery experience, reducing waiting and response times, informing patients correctly without them having to consult other unverified channels (social networks, ChatGPT, Internet…).
Healthtech use cases
Clinical decision support
Technology can help professionals make decisions about diagnosis, treatment or efficiency in the management of the healthcare system. For example, artificial intelligence can help in medical imaging and in the rapid and accurate diagnosis of complex diseases.
All entities involved in the healthcare system must be able to operate with each other through specific standards and protocols that enable the exchange of information, both clinical and non-clinical, in a secure and efficient manner. Technology plays a key role in achieving this information exchange and meeting this urgent need.
For example, there are different health systems in each Autonomous Community in Spain and there is still a long way to go to achieve full integration between them. One of the main objectives in the short term is to achieve this integration and to facilitate, standardise and enable the simple exchange of information.
- Disruptive technology
There is a niche market for disruptive and unique products that improve quality of life, recovery, diagnosis or treatment. Market introduction may be more or less complex, but there is a path yet to be discovered in unique products that lack competition.
Springboard35's experience in healthtech
Springboard35 has consultants with varying degrees of experience in the field of medical and health technology. The specific branch of healthtech, pharma and life sciences was created years ago, aware of the importance of this sector. We have worked on products such as medical treatment apps, disruptive medical hardware, clinical decision support software, among others.
Contact us today to find out how we can help your healthtech company thrive in the competitive and dynamic healthcare sector (at email@example.com, via this contact form or the form below). Our team will work closely with you to create customised plans that leverage our knowledge of the healthcare sector and open up new growth opportunities.
Together, we can take your healthcare technology business to new heights, increase revenue and make a lasting impact on the healthcare industry. Together, we will set you on a transformative path to success.