Personal health technology will play a greater role in the future healthcare system, which will be characterized by a growing number of chronic patients and a strong patient-centred focus. A new report predicts great growth potential for life science companies.
The healthcare sector is facing major challenges. As people live longer, and many continue to have unhealthy habits, we are seeing an increase in age-related, lifestyle, and chronic diseases. At the same time, the healthcare system is being squeezed by requirements to provide better treatment combined with pressure to find cost savings.
This is the verdict of a recent sector development report prepared jointly by industry associations (Medicoindustrien, the Danish IT Industry Association, and the Confederation of Danish Industry) and leading DTU experts. The report highlights a number of research and development projects and makes recommendations to help boost the development and use of new technology in the healthcare sector.
The development of new healthcare technology opens up great opportunities for improving existing solutions and developing new healthcare technology products which can contribute to public health services. One example is sensors—previously only available in the clinical laboratory with trained personnel, but now available for patients as portable digital healthcare technologies.
Sharing in the business success story
Although the Danish market for healthcare technology is often described as one of the best in Europe at developing and testing medico equipment, Danish companies are being challenged by healthcare technology industries in other countries which have grown significantly over the last ten years.
“Danish companies have every opportunity to take part in the business success story. There are strong companies and research environments to draw on, as well as flexible collaboration with the public health system. But we need to make even more progress than we have made over the past ten years,” says Jakob E. Bardram. He is a professor at DTU Compute, Director of the Copenhagen Centre for Health Technology (CACHET), and chairman of the working group behind the report.
“The established companies need to expand, strengthen and combine technologies. There are also a lot of new opportunities for innovative new products and services that can document the effect of the companies' products and show that patients experience an improvement. In future it will be crucial to be able to point to ‘real world evidence’ for both companies and the healthcare sector.”
Knowledge about patients
As a result of this trend, the life science and medico sectors are increasingly linking information and data from individual patients and products together in digital solutions and platforms. This data particularly benefits pharma and medico companies. One of them is Novo Nordisk, which is a member of the Medicoindustrien industry association. Thomas Miller, who heads a research unit for medical devices in Novo Nordisk, says:
“Digital health is a discipline that is developing rapidly and constantly delivering new insights, new technologies, and new applications for existing technologies. We want to use these advances to improve treatment for all the patients living with diabetes every day."