Top tech trends transforming the healthcare industry
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Top tech trends transforming the healthcare industry

Top tech trends transforming the healthcare industry

Georg Schroeckenfuchs, head of Gulf and Saudi Country Group – Innovative Medicines at Novartis Innovation, tells us how technology is enabling innovation in healthcare

Gulf Business

How is technology enabling innovation in medicine?
Technology continues to revolutionise the healthcare industry and impacts almost every part of the medical field – from helping make new discoveries in medicine and treatments, to data collection, disease research, health monitoring, and post-surgery care. Not only this, but technology has also been responsible for making healthcare more accessible to people around the world.

What are some top tech trends that the healthcare industry is relying on?
For any organisation, digital transformation should always be a journey that begins at home, with a commitment that the journey will not change who you are – your values or your mission. Digital change, as with any other change in business, must start with a clear definition of who and where you are and where you want to end up.

Towards this end, we are seeing a number of tech trends roll out across the healthcare industry that is improving patient outcomes and promoting a better quality of life. The adoption of artificial intelligence (AI), in particular, has been increasing at a rapid pace over the past few years, as organisations leverage its capabilities to help improve the speed and accuracy of diagnosis, treatment protocols, drug discovery, drug development, patient monitoring, and patient care, among other applications that will improve patients’ lives and optimise the healthcare ecosystem.

Data science and analytics are another major trend we’re seeing across the industry. Data that is generated across the healthcare industry will be key in analysing diagnostic reports as well as filing patient treatment histories.

Why is innovation important in medicine?
Innovation is vital because it results in the creation of new treatments and processes that allow healthcare professionals to focus more on the needs of their patients and to help people improve their lives. Innovation improves the efficiency, effectiveness, quality, sustainability, safety, and accessibility of healthcare. To ensure the health of our communities and to improve access to life-saving medicines and treatment, we must continue to innovate across the healthcare sector.

What is the anticipated growth of innovative medicine driven by tech?
Reports have suggested a sizable increase in the growth of the innovative medicine sector that is being driven by technology. For example, a recent GlobalData survey revealed that over 70 per cent of pharma industry respondents anticipate drug development to be the area most impacted by the implementation of smart technologies such as AI, augmented reality/virtual reality, big data and quantum computing. Another report by Grand View Research shows that the worldwide AI healthcare market is expected to reach $31.3bn by 2025.

Globally, the pharmaceutical manufacturing market was valued at $405.52bn in 2020 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 11.34 per cent from 2021 to 2028. In addition to the massive transformation that the industry has undergone due to the increased adoption of new technologies, as well as cost-effective and more efficient manufacturing approaches, an increasing investment flow in this space has also impacted the market growth positively.

What are some benefits of introducing tech in medical innovations?
Introducing technology in medical innovation can potentially accelerate and optimise every stage of drug research, resulting in faster drug discovery. As mentioned earlier, several companies, including Novartis, are already looking at AI to optimise and automate the manufacturing process for innovative medicine.

AI combined with machine learning (ML) is assisting healthcare companies to analyse the profiles of different individuals and compare the efficacy of drugs and demand. As a result, manufacturers can create improved drugs and medicines by understanding their effectiveness in specific individuals. And through the use of Big Data and Analytics, researchers are able to determine the side effects of a drug beforehand, which consequently shortens the time required for clinical trials.

What is your outlook for innovation in medicine in 2023?
Looking ahead into 2023, I believe that we will continue to see an increasing wave of digital transformation sweep across the healthcare sector, which will lower the cost of R&D for innovative medicine, while improving efficiency across the industry. Healthcare and pharmaceutical companies will continue to increase their investments in technologies such as AI, ML and data analytics to boost predictive medicine and make it possible to track the effects of different therapies on groups of patients over time.

In line with these global trends, we will continue to focus on our strategy of delivering high-value medicines that alleviate society’s greatest disease burdens through technology leadership in R&D and novel access approaches. Our digital vision will embrace the best of technology to produce the best medicines for patients everywhere. That has always been our goal and it will remain so.

Read: Here’s how 3D printing is revolutionising healthcare

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