With the rise of innovation in the healthcare sector, several breathtaking scenarios had since taken place within the industry. The dynamic transformation and unparalleled opportunity are now the attributes of the biopharmaceutical industry. However, the future of health be more than just innovations; it will be uniformly created by the way our reactions and anticipations towards the challenges and consequences of each considerable advancement.
As we outline new healthcare territories, we have to ensure that each route leads back to patients. Substantial changes lead about by tech innovation are only as valuable as their influence on the society whose lives the industry continuously aim to advance and expand. The most effective method towards protecting and treating the people is to determine the potential benefits and challenges of each new development. Leveraging innovation skillfully allow industry professionals to help more patients more than ever.
Further, with new remedies come new questions. Think about the field of immune-oncology – a potential source of cancer research that uses the body’s own immune system to fight the disease. Immunotherapies have resulted in remarkable conclusions in most, but not all, patients. Therefore, the challenge of immuno-oncology is how each breakthrough unravels new questions. The future battle against cancer is dependent on understanding why some tumor cells may start to go against these therapies, and creating innovative treatment combinations based on the unique characteristics of tumors and individual patients. All these can only be achieved through effective partnerships.
Another area of expansion in healthcare is gene therapy, which seeks to identify a missing or non-functioning gene in a patient’s DNA and adds or replaces it with a functioning gene that can produce an essential protein. Thereafter, the affected tissues or cells that is dependent on that protein will be able to function normally. As such the patient will no longer need continuous treatment. While this may seem like “potential cure” with no complexity, healthcare professionals have yet to comprehend the time period in which the body will respond to gene edits and how people’s immune systems will react to these interference over time. In addition, typically more than one gene is involved in various diseases.
Personalised medicine is also an upcoming and fundamental trend in medicine as it involves the customisation of medication to each individual need, genetic makeup and lifestyle. With further progression into a healthcare landscape of growing customisation for some patients – both in treatment and service – it is important to ensure that the industry is advancing access so that more patients can attain the benefits.
Further, a digital future involves artificial intelligence that can help to immensely reduce the time scientists spend analysing data and testing molecular combinations as they revise formulas and create new ones. At present, pharmaceutical R&D labs are leveraging on AI to forecast the relationships between biological mechanisms and disease symptoms. AI is also inherent to advancing the diagnosis and treatment strategies of patients. However, expert human judgement should still be adapted to AI’s findings.
Data gathered by wearable digital devices also play an increasingly significant role in healthcare. These devices can produce real-time data about patients and allow them to report their own subjective symptoms more accurately. While data sharing can lead to possible transformative conveniences and benefits for patients; if these data are leaked, patients are at risk of possible unneeded discrimination. Therefore, it is believed that the most meaningful transformations in healthcare is from the right integration of innovation and deliberation. As we fervently push the boundaries of innovation and assume the potential they have to provide more patients with personalised and enhanced treatment; it is essential to establish mechanisms concurrently that examines each innovation through a spectrum of social, economic and political filters to better predict the consequences.
Source: World Economic Forum
Participate in the upcoming QS Subject Focus Summit – Medicine under the theme of “Advancing the Medical and Health Sciences: Education, Research & Collaboration” from 23-25 January 2019 in Surabaya, Indonesia.