What are Health Innovation Trends for 2019?

October 24, 2018
Andrew DiMeo
Healthcare Future Predictions Doctor

Health Innovation Trends over Medtech trends

As I’m putting the first words on the page for this exploration, I can’t help thinking about the title itself as a trend.  I’m seeing that the more traditional “Medical Innovation” and derivatives such as “Medical Technology” and “Medtech” are being replaced by “Health Innovation.”

We are seeing it already, and we will continue to see it in 2019: a shift from reactive care to prevention.  And I’m not so sure “prevention” is strong enough … in 2019 and beyond, it may even be about improving health.  When you hear (and I’ve heard it) a 60-something year old say, “I’m in the best shape of my life.” - that’s what I’m talking about.

So what are the Health Innovation trends of today, 2019, and beyond?

  1. Dedicated and Empathetic Response to the Opioid Crisis
  2. Most importantly, opioid addiction is a tragedy that is ruining lives and tearing families apart. It is a large market for innovation and any technology that addresses acute pain, from cooling techniques to localized nerve blocks, that reduces the use of opioids will be welcome as fast as it can get here.
  3. Never Events
  4. A “never event” is a preventable and concerning mishandling of treatment situation. Hospital Acquired Conditions (HACs) go back a decade, so why is this a trend for 2019? The list is growing and the tolerance for HACs is shorter than ever, with the general public awareness on the rise. Catheter-associated urinary tract infections, vascular catheter infections, pressure ulcers, surgical site infections, and return to hospital after congestive heart failure treatment are the topics today, and have been for a while. What’s next?
  5. Value Based Care impacts
  6. In the last half-decade we’ve seen a transformation of the healthcare system from free for service to value based care. Ultimately, this translates to increasing the quality of care and reducing the cost of care. However, it’s not as obvious as making a hip implant better and cheaper. We are talking about the whole clinical experience improving (changing) and the entire cost of care (not just the implant) lowering.
  8. Consider automobile innovation as making cars higher quality and lower cost. Sure, this is a good thing. From lower fuel consumption to electric cars to fewer mechanical parts and on down the line, auto innovation is happening. That’s like innovating the hip implant.
  9. In this analogy, if we want to impact the whole clinical experience and entire cost of care we are no longer innovating cars, but innovating around the whole ground transportation experience, and reducing the entire cost of ground transportation. At the same time, we need to have a business case that ultimately comes down to an addressable market.
  10. Consider all the factors that impact “Total Cost of Ground Transportation.” These are things like repairs, consumables (tires, etc.), fuel (gas and/or electric), leases and loans, registration, insurance, parking, tolls, and other forms of ground transportation you may use throughout the year such as taxis, buses, and trains.
  11. Now, how does making a better quality and lower cost car impact this total cost of ground transportation? How does it impact the human experience of ground transportation?
  12. Enter Uber. Here’s an innovation that impacts all aspects associated with ground transportation.  One can imagine not owning a car: no repairs, no insurance, no fuel, etc. I may not take the bus or subway, but Uber instead. I may not park at the airport, but Uber instead. The entire experience of human transportation has changed, the market itself is large and growing, but the total impact has the promise (whether real or not), to decrease the entire cost of ground transportation.

This is the reality of Health Innovation in 2019 and beyond. Focusing on the human experience, such as opioid addictions and never events have the potential to reduce the total cost of care, improve the human experience of care, and be in and of itself, a large and growing market.

I would love to hear your thoughts on the topic.  Join the discussion on twitter using #TrigExplore #HealthInnovation

Andrew DiMeo
Innovation & Design Coach

Dr. Andrew DiMeo is a 20 year seasoned expert in the Biomedical Engineering industry. He is founder and former executive director of the NC Medical Device Organization, which became an NC Biotech Center of Innovation. He also co-founded and became VP of Business Development for the design and manufacturing company EG-Gilero.


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