Flying Health intensively screens for early signals from a wide range of sources to detect new trends in healthcare and other industries and formulate an idea of what the future of healthcare will look like. In our view, digital health is just the beginning. It is the first step in the journey that we call Next Generation Healthcare.
Innovation in healthcare is driven by new technologies such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality, advanced mobile and web technologies or sophisticated sensors, leading to new healthcare products. These products can offer solutions for prevention, diagnosis, therapy and disease management within a single application. Having followed this field since its beginning, Flying Health has built up a vast knowledge of the digital health technology landscape. Yet, we remain fascinated and inspired by the potential that digital tools offer. One example is Digital Drugs, which we define as a purely software-generated medical stimulus that triggers a direct physiological response. Our two spin-offs, Dopavision and Neuraltrain, currently develop Digital Drugs for myopia and mental health, respectively, thereby acting at the forefront of Next Generation Healthcare.
Read our one-pager on Digital Drugs for more information.
Within Next Generation Healthcare, not only are new players emerging, but the role of traditional players is also changing. The main players in new technologies and products are tech-driven startups or large tech companies. Indeed, instead of the established healthcare players such as pharmaceutical companies, medical device manufacturers or health technology providers, large companies (like Google, Apple, and Amazon in the US or Tencent and PingAn in China) are increasingly positioning themselves as holistic healthcare providers. At the same time, smaller startups are challenging the status quo within healthcare and are increasingly drawing inspiration from non-traditional fields, such as computer science, data science and the gaming industry, to develop innovative new approaches to old problems. Given this new competition, traditional stakeholders in healthcare must re-define their role to justify their relevance in Next Generation Healthcare.
The appearance of new products and new players is resulting in new business models and value chains, which can not only complement but also potentially replace existing businesses. Currently, we are experiencing the formation of a new market for digital health which is following the rules of the digital economy. This will enable cross-sectoral healthcare and shift the point of care from a doctor´s practice towards the patient and their lifestyle. The key question is “who will be at the pole position of new digitally controlled value chains in healthcare?”. There is also an attractive opportunity for further industries such as mobility and automotive, food and retail or entertainment to play a role in Next Generation Healthcare.
Healthcare is often regulated and delivered nationally or locally, whilst the digital economy thinks global by nature. Digital products and services can bridge physical distance and national borders easily to scale across the globe. The internet is increasingly becoming the first touchpoint for patients, and digital solutions enable access to high-quality care worldwide. To date, traditional actors such as physicians, pharmacies, health insurances, and legislation still tend to underestimate the impact of this global perspective on their way delivering healthcare, which will be a key feature of Next Generation Healthcare.