It’s no secret that venture capital has the ability to create change. Whether that’s change within a small startup or change within an entire industry, venture capital is not only important, but essential.
And speaking of something that’s essential, we have our healthcare system. Ah, the United States’ healthcare system: a controversial, debated, sometimes loved, sometimes hated system that, at the end of the day, is essential and will impact us all at some point in our lives.
We are well aware of the shortcomings and hardships that our healthcare system has faced over the past 2 years. The pandemic jolted us into a ‘new normal’ of overflowing hospital beds and healthcare professional burnout.
The United States’ healthcare system is still recovering from the effects of the pandemic, and will continue to do so for a while. However, it is posed with another challenge—our healthcare system is facing an increasing population of elders, specifically those aged 60 or older. The US Census Bureau projects that the proportion of adults aged 65 and over will surpass the proportion of children under the age of 18 by 2035. People are starting to live longer, and although this is a positive in many ways, older people are more susceptible to illness and disease, which will be reflected onto the healthcare system.
So, between recovering from the pandemic’s effects and an increased number of elderly patients, our healthcare system is facing one reality: it needs help. An analysis of amenable deaths in 137 countries exposed a lack of appropriate utilization of health care services and low quality of healthcare systems translated to 15.6 million excess deaths each year.
Luckily, there are various technological innovations that shine light on a brighter future for our system. With a tailwind of technological innovation in remote monitoring devices, healthcare wearables, and data integration healthcare institutions can actively keep their finger on the pulse (pun intended). Collecting data from remote devices, wearables, and other sources increases the interactions exponentially between patients and providers and fills in the previous gap of data. Instead of annual or semi-annual physical or virtual encounters occurring when patients are sick, a healthcare profile consisting of remote monitoring, consumption trends, and activity data is built for patients. On an individual level, this expands medical professionals' view of the patients’ physiologic and pathologic state potentially translating to improved therapy and outcomes. On a community level, aggregate data trends allow for community health monitoring, allocation of resources based on data backed needs for each community, and a cycle of innovation based on changing consumer needs reflected through the trends. Furthermore the confluence of healthcare data integration across communities is likely to reveal trends greater than the sum of its parts, informing policy and proving extremely valuable in scaling evidence-based healthcare delivery.
The future of healthcare includes:
- Remote monitoring devices and wearables will allow providers to monitor their patients’ health, both prompting needed doctor’s visits and limiting unnecessary ones.
- Big data will enable us to monitor health trends in different communities, which will allow for linkage between illness/diseases and the environment.
- Providers will be able to catch health issues proactively, rather than after-the-fact when the patient is in a worse condition.
- These devices will create a preventative rather than curative model that will keep people healthy and ultimately save lives.
Venture capital has the ability to change the world for the better and has the responsibility to do so by investing in our healthcare system. By investing in companies that are pouring their efforts into creating remote monitoring devices, wearables, and better data analytics, VC firms can positively impact our healthcare in the United States.
So here’s to investing venture capital into efforts that will create a less overwhelmed, more informed, and preventative healthcare system. Here’s to a better future for us all.