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Getting Personal

14th January 2020

CES 2020 in Las Vegas gave us a fascinating glimpse into the future of technology and the personalization of healthcare.

Twitter will soon let us control who replies to our tweets.

The Galaxy Bloom, Samsung’s new foldable phone, will be coated in UTG, a new form of ultra-thin glass.

Uber and Hyundai plan to offer us flying taxis within the next three years.

As always, CES in Las Vegas kicked off the new year with a fascinating glimpse into the very near-future. This annual event has become a showcase for the best of high-tech progress, and last week we were reminded that personalisation is a key element in that progress. Nowhere is that more true than in healthcare.

An ageing population will be subject to a range of ailments that need to be monitored with care. People with heart conditions may need to make regular checks on their blood pressure. Those with diabetes will need to keep a close eye on blood sugar levels. The 2020s will offer us more and more sophisticated wearable tech, with health devices enabling us to monitor our vital signs and make suitable adjustments to our medication, exercise or all-round lifestyle.

At first glance Omron’s HeartGuide may look like a normal wristwatch, but it enables wearers to track heart, activity and sleep data. It’s the world’s first clinically verified, wearable blood pressure monitor. Blood pressure wristbands were also on show at CES, along with wearable blood glucose testing kits. Healthcare isn’t just getting more sophisticated, it’s getting more convenient.

It’s also highly lucrative. By 2024 the digital health monitoring market is forecast to reach a global value of $245 billion.

That’s a quarter of a trillion dollars.

This attention to personalisation is also prominent in other areas of healthcare and life sciences. Pharmacogenomic testing can use our genetic profiles to predict how far a certain course of treatment will benefit us. If a drug is tested on a large population sample and the end result is an average response report, it may have limited benefits for certain patients. Pharmacogenomic analysis looks at how individuals respond to drugs, fuelling more accurate clinical decisions that may result in adjustment of dosages or completely different treatment choices.

The message for life sciences and healthcare companies could not be clearer; one size does not fit all. We will succeed by treating patients as individuals. That doesn’t just mean analysing their genetic response to a drug; it also means paying attention to their emotional response to treatment. Vulnerable people undertaking a clinical trial need and deserve respect and care. Every aspect of their treatment and every aspect of the communication relating to it should be tailored to their needs. When it comes to patient care, there’s a lot to be said for getting personal.

 

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