When it comes to innovations with new technology, a pattern has emerged over the last seventy years. Computers started off as these huge machines which could take up space in an entire room; however, the technology undergoes a maturing process where bulky machines undergo a miniaturizing process. When it comes to technology in healthcare, a similar trend is underway where data is making the transition from mainframes to iPhones.
Writer Justin Butler recently posted an article on the Tech Crunch website where he looks at how technology in the healthcare sector are transitioning from important data being stored in several centralized companies to patients and doctors that benefit from it the most. This is being accomplished by those who are willing to make the investment of time and money to create these new innovations in healthcare technology.
Startups are Transforming Healthcare Tech Across the World
Throughout the world, startups are changing the capabilities that were previously designated to specialty labs containing expensive, huge capital equipment with technicians that are highly trained. Back in early 2000, three hundred DNA sequencers, along with seven thousand processors, was used by Celera Genomics to complete sequencing of one human genome; the cost came to almost one-hundred million dollars.
Utilizing today’s technologies, the entire genome of a human can be accomplished on a machine desktop with a cost of under one-thousand dollars. New companies are focusing beyond DNA sequencing to other areas like strokes and the flu by moving the data, technology and revenue from the few companies that are centralized to the patients and doctors who need it the most.
How the Industry is Benefiting from Cost Reduction
Since new innovations are opening the doors to areas that had been previously shut or non-existent, the industry is able to benefit from reductions in cost due to mass manufacturing of electronics for consumers. Electronics, optics and microfluidics have become largely less expensive than what prices were a decade ago. Smarter software and novel chemistry have combined to make these tests cost equally or better than their centralized equivalent.
Moving beyond how much these tests cost, it has been documented that accurate and quick diagnosis are vital for promoting positive outcomes for patients regarding a vast variety of diseases. Diagnosis achieved at a quick pace provides a correct and fast treatment, reduces over-prescribing of antibiotics and lowers the rates of hospitalization.
Sadly, these types of tests are still filled with challenges that need to be overcome. Some of these challenges include strong competition from markets, can be costly to certify and create while require possible alterations to clinical workflows. Another issue is that these tests may be less expensive and smaller, they must still pass the same tough standards enforced by the FDA as well as other agencies. Although the 510 (k) pathway provides a way to meet regulatory scrutiny than what a new therapeutic may face, significant resources are still required.
Though the process will take time to complete, the shift from big, centralized testing facilities to at-home and in-clinic testing has started. The more investors are willing to make investments in this technology, the sooner doctors and patients will have access to data that can be used properly. Then, the benefits of having access to this type of technology will be for individuals to live healthier and longer lives.