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Op-Ed: Tech Will Save Healthcare, And Healthcare Will Save Your Business

February 18, 2021



Rising healthcare costs, coupled with myriad challenges in the sociopolitical environment, will continue to impede the current U.S. healthcare system—but there’s reason to be excited. If you look at where some of the most exciting innovation is happening in terms of applied technologies, it becomes clear that our healthcare crisis can be fixed by tech.

And the better news is that a transformed healthcare industry will drive transformation in just about every other industry.

In my work as an innovation consultant, our focus is to shepherd our clients through disruption, with a combination of new product development, startup and technology partnerships, and advisory services on corporate venture capital. That is to say: this focus places my gaze solidly on the broader healthcare space, as it will affect not just traditional healthcare organizations, but nearly every other product category. This is where consumer value is exponentially expanding.

New technologies like AI and machine learning, augmented and virtual reality, robotics, and new types of research will improve patient care, reduce costs, expedite processes and drive better outcomes. Smart organizations and brands are asking if they can position themselves to drive their business with a slice of the multi-trillion-dollar healthcare market.

The upending of any industry, especially one of this size, is bound to deliver a healthy amount of trouble for some, but when you examine the potential that technology will bring to healthcare, the endless opportunities become apparent. Nearly gone are the days when you’ll rely on an annual physical to find out the state of your health. The advent of wearables, biometric sensors, DNA and microbiome mail-away kits, and telemedicine is paving the way for an always-on consumer health monitoring ecosystem. This innovation is a boon to both preventative and diagnostic care, which will unearth a plethora of products, services, companies and brands to deliver powerful solutions for maintaining and improving your health.

We’re now seeing a situation where people expect fast, simple, transparent, preventative and personalized care… and technology can accommodate, well, just as soon as companies adopt and scale these solutions to their customers.

So, how can your company help disrupt this incredibly valuable space? Well, the question you need to ask is: What value do you want to deliver in this new world, and what’s the shift you need to make to get there?

Provide value through data

The most widely used consumer devices today—including Apple’s iPhone and watch, Fitbit, Google Pixel and wearable products, Samsung, etc.—all have embedded health-monitoring capabilities. We just need to get the relevant data into the electronic medical record systems that connect with our comprehensive health information. There are also a laundry list of interesting startups and technology companies designing devices that add broad, robust new data sets to the equation. Take 3D body scanning—several startups have high-quality 3D scanning capabilities that are now being applied for clinical research. The ability to visualize changes in the body over time can lead to some great discoveries or, at the very least, allow for some self-awareness and actualization.

Provide value through prevention

Smart homes and home-based products will also keep tabs on everything we do from our sleeping patterns to our nutrition and our bowel movements. As the proliferation of smart devices in our home begin to track and analyze this data, we’ll be able to find issues significantly earlier and track other health issues more vigilantly. Recently, at CES, nearly every refrigerator, from consumer electronics giants like Samsung and LG, had interactive computers with burgeoning functionality to analyze your food intake. Another entire section of booths was focused on sleep monitoring, a hot topic with outspoken influencers like Arianna Huffington of Thrive Global. Els van der Helm of Shleep says that for each sleep-deprived employee, an organization loses over 11 days per year in productivity.

Provide value through tools

At-home fitness equipment companies like Peloton, which just introduced its new treadmill, will drive more exercise (and tracking) into people’s lives and help reduce one of the biggest issues in healthcare: obesity and related diseases like diabetes. There is no shortage of fitness startups that are attacking this space with work-out apps, innovative fitness equipment, on-demand exercise classes, nutrition coaches and wearables.

The future will be filled with products, services, and brands delivering various pieces of the puzzle for our health. Asking where your brand can fit in and what you can add to the big picture is the first step toward securing your spot in an exciting, and hopefully, healthier world in the future.

Evan Kraut is Managing Director of Grey Adventures, a division of Grey Group that develops innovative products and services that fuel new ways of doing business for their clients. Prior to joining Grey, Evan was Chief Growth Officer at MRY, a Publicis agency. During his tenure, Evan was part of the core leadership team that scaled the organization from 30 to over 300+ headcount, including global expansion, while successfully leading major pieces of business for Coca-Cola, Visa, Microsoft, AT&T, Procter & Gamble, and more than 50 of the Fortune 500.

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