The concept of Healthtech, which refers to the fusion of technology and health to drive innovation and improve medical services, has become one of the fastest growing verticals within the healthcare sector. For this reason, professionals from the health sector held the “Health Tech Summit Mexico”, where the future of the industry was analyzed.
Pablo Cevallos, CEO and founder of the MEG Group, mentioned, during his participation in this summit, that the healthtech offers technological solutions that improve various aspects of medical care, including telemedicine, medical technology, electronic medical records, the mobile health and data analysis and big data in health. These innovations are transforming the way healthcare professionals provide patient care and improving the efficiency and accessibility of healthcare services.
One of the trends that is experiencing rapid growth in this field is telemedicine. This technology allows healthcare providers to offer remote care services to patients through the use of information and communication technologies, such as virtual consultations and vital signs monitoring. Telemedicine improves the accessibility and efficiency of medical services, while reducing geographical and mobility barriers. According to data provided by Cevallos, 46% of patients are already willing to use telemedicine instead of making face-to-face visits.
The growing interest in healthtech has led large technology companies, such as Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Tencent, Intel, Samsung, Cisco, Facebook, Comcast and Alibaba, to invest in startups in the sector. A prominent example is Amazon’s $3.9 billion acquisition of startup One Medical. One Medical combines technology and healthcare services, offering primary care services, telemedicine and health monitoring tools. This acquisition demonstrates the potential and attractiveness of healthtech in the global marketplace.
In Mexico, this industry has experienced exponential growth, reaching an increase of 300% this year, compared to 2022. Currently, there are 108 companies focused on 17 healthtech categories in the country, including teleconsultation, electronic records and digital prescription. . It is estimated that the global healthtech market will reach 660 billion dollars by 2025. Pablo Cevallos, from Grupo MEG, said that teleconsultation has quadrupled since 2018, while digital medical prescription has increased 3.5 times in the same period.
In Mexico, whose current population reaches 134.6 million inhabitants, 58% of the population in 2020 had public medical security, while 13.4% had some type of private medical insurance, according to the National Institute of Statistics. and Geography (INEGI).
AI, biotechnology and data analysis: that is where the health sector is headed
The health sector is in constant transformation thanks to technological trends that are revolutionizing the way in which medical care is provided. In his conference, Jorge Gutiérrez, director of the KPMG Ignition Insights Center in Mexico and Central America, pointed to artificial intelligence, biotechnology and data analysis as the pillars towards which the sector is heading.
Gutiérrez highlighted a number of macro market trends that are shaping the healthcare industry. Among them is the “age of biology,” in which advances in biotechnology open up new possibilities in the diagnosis and treatment of disease.
In addition, he mentioned that the “new reality consumer” and the “new reality worker” are driving changes in the way health care is delivered and health personnel are managed.
Artificial intelligence (AI) stands out as another macro trend in the healthcare industry. Gutiérrez explained that, thanks to the fact that AI has the ability to perform cognitive functions associated with human minds -such as perceiving, reasoning, learning and interacting with the environment-, it can be applied in the field of health, from detection and prediction of diseases, even in the improvement of operational efficiency in hospitals and clinics.
Gutiérrez commented that AI has gone through different stages. It started with the ability to imitate human behavior, then evolved to machine learning, where machines are able to detect patterns and learn from experience, and then deep learning, which allows for pattern recognition. complex on various types of data. Currently, the so-called “Gen AI” is being developed, which has the ability to create new content, such as text, images, videos, music or code.
Thanks to this evolution, the executive declared, the application of AI in health care is broad and promising. He mentioned that AI algorithms can help doctors detect diseases faster and more accurately from medical images and other clinical data. It is also used to accelerate clinical research and drug discovery, facilitating collaboration between scientists and physicians.
In addition, AI can improve interaction with patients, monitor their condition in real time, and optimize patient care processes in hospitals and clinics.
Given this constant disruption in the healthcare market, Gutiérrez recommends that organizations delve into the topic of artificial intelligence with a business-driven mindset. Investing in a strong technology foundation and proprietary data sourcing is critical to taking full advantage of AI capabilities. Likewise, he highlights the importance of accelerating the innovation process through leverage in the ecosystem, and ensuring a responsible implementation of AI programs.
Technology impacts the updating of health professionals
Another topic raised during the summit was the need for health professionals to constantly update themselves, due to the speed with which technology impacts the sector. During his presentation, Dr. Jorge Azpiri López, director of Development and Expansion at TecSalud of the Tecnológico de Monterrey, highlighted the importance of adapting to technological changes in the field of health and highlighted several key points that reflect the transformation of the industry healthcare and the challenges it faces.
The speaker emphasized the epidemiological transition that society has experienced. In the past, during the agricultural era, the population was smaller, the majority lived in rural areas, and health was affected by unsanitary conditions and lack of vaccination. In contrast, in today’s technological era, the population has increased significantly, the majority live in urban areas, life expectancy has increased, and attention is focused on chronic degenerative diseases and prevention.
Azpiri highlighted the difference between the industrial age and the technological age in terms of organization, value and medical focus. In the industrial age, autocracy, nationalism and curative medicine prevailed, while in the technological age, democracy, globalization and preventive medicine have given way. Furthermore, value has shifted from inventories to knowledge, and from physical labor to brain labor.
The speaker highlighted the reactive approach of the past in contrast to the proactive approach of the present. Whereas before, past statistical trends were analyzed to make decisions, now they seek to anticipate through the analysis of expectations and fears, defining a vision, mission and strategy for the future.
Regarding the healthcare industry, Azpiri highlighted the importance of identifying competitors, customers and suppliers, as well as determining the industry’s key assets and activities and being alert to possible threats of obsolescence that could affect profits.
Finally, he stressed that the field of health is particularly relevant due to the megatrends and challenges it faces, such as super-infections, pandemics, cyber wars, global warming, and access to information, among others. He also highlighted areas of technological interest in the face of these challenges, such as big data analytics, artificial intelligence, robotics, digital medicine and 3D printing.