Heads in the cloud

Healthcare’s relationship with technology is complicated, to say the least. With virtually every health system globally facing challenges around soaring demand, scarce resources and the increasing burden of chronic conditions, technology is often cited as the only realistic way to square the circle. Continuing with existing care models and cost structures for the long term is simply unfeasible – and that’s even before we consider the impact of Covid-19 and the future threats of novel viruses.
In short, in healthcare we need to witness the same degree of digital evolution that we’ve seen in retail, personal finance, entertainment and many other aspects of our lives. The sector has been stubbornly resistant to change, however. Large IT projects have often been associated with failure, rather than innovation – a millstone, not an enabler. In short, a risk that is more likely to get you removed than rewarded.
In 2020, however, the world changed in many ways – in fact, it is still changing.
The coronavirus pandemic has vastly accelerated our use of technology. Trends such as video calls, remote working, teams communicating through instant messaging and other productivity platforms all existed before March this year – but they have been dragged from the fringes and thrust centre stage over the course of the pandemic.
This shift in our relationship with technology is starting to manifest itself in investor behaviour also – just look at our news section this month to see how much activity there has been in the healthtech space. It is also apparent from the current generation of entrepreneurs featured in this edition of HealthInvestor UK that digital has the potential not only to disrupt the sector but to create significant value for shareholders.
Many of these businesses are focused on areas that have been long-tipped for growth – diagnostics, data, virtual consultations.
However as one participant at our (virtual) HealthInvestor Summit recently remarked: “UK healthcare has seen 10 years change in the past 10 months” and this has created a climate where radical change is not only possible
but, in fact, probable. Who knows what the next decade will hold for the relationship between technology and healthcare – but it will certainly be exciting to watch.

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