Digital Salutem
04 January 2017

5 Crazy Digital Health Predictions for 2017

By João Bocas

digital healthcare

In the last few years digital health has come a long way. This new emerging industry is here to stay, we can see healthcare innovations evolving extremely fast. Many experts have predicted digital health platforms and social media networks as the main trends in 2016.

As every year, industry insiders choose their favorite technologies and business models. In this case, we are talking about an industry at his infancy, this making difficult to figure out what will happen in the next 12 months.

Less than 18 months ago, a surge of digital health startups was reported. However industry experts defended that 98% of digital health start ups are zombies , this fact clearly reflects that innovating in healthcare is a very tall task.

Personally, I recognize that nothing is setting stone when it comes to digital health innovation, based on my regular discussions in this industry, I share with you my five most secret (and crazy) predictions:

1) Exits: There are great success stories: amazing digital health companies are obtaining concrete results and scaling up. In 2016 we witnessed exciting moves in the industry; as examples: Nokia acquiring Withings for $191million and Misfit was sold to Fossil Group for $260 million. I’m expecting to see some more acquisitions and relevant exits, maybe an “unicorn” from the digital health industry.

2) New Emerging Technologies: This is the other side of the moon in tech, I saw many technologies doing a great job in 2016, however in 2017 I would like to highlight some more innovative and pretense tech that will influence healthcare with great results. Virtually Reality ( #VR ) is certainly up there, we are now seen a huge flux of #VR startups, and that’s not a coincidence….the potential is enormous. The challenge remains around business models and practical application, although great innovators are already doing great work and taking giant steps. Take a look at Dr. Shafi Ahmed , he is already using #VR live in his surgery rooms. More insights can be found at Medical Realities .

3) Connected Health: My two cents are on any digital solutions ( hardware or software ) that uses tools, wearables and sensors for collecting health data. The Wearables are now a common denominator that will assist connectivity between human being and machines. However Wearables are not novice in connected health, they have been around for a few years now.  My prediction is that connected cars will present the biggest opportunity for healthcare through Automotive Health. A crazy prediction…? Read more how connected cars will change lives .

Connected health vehicles

Let’s consider one of the most mature use cases: auto insurance telematics in UK, which represents one of the best practices globally. There are now almost 455,000 drivers in the UK with a telematics ‘black box’ fitted in their car, this can be used as a capability to be applied in health, however many new intelligent cars offer other ways to connect.

Wearables , Sensors or just clothing : wearables  started to be used in clinical trials in 2016 and this is a major breakthrough for healthcare. Read a case study here regarding correlation and context . In 2016 I noticed truly advances in wearable tech innovations, more intelligent, smaller, with more functionalities in one single device and much more. But Sensors are the “ Wearables of the Future “ or are they ? Check this innovative company – Profusa is developing a new generation of biointegrated sensors that empower an individual to continuously monitor their unique body chemistry – check how here .

5) Genomics: In the last 12 months personalized medicine or precision medicine are certainly not stranger terms for those working in healthcare innovation. Genomics offers exactly that, the opportunity to personalize health. Human Genomics are a growing industry with more innovators offering solutions to healthcare. A Spanish start up caught my eye in 2016, they are made of genes , offering a combination of technology, genomics and ( AI ) artificial intelligence. More Genomics innovations are expected in 2017.

Digital Medicine


To round round up the article in a controversial way, I would like to ask you to imagine what if….Wearables, Sensors and any other any similar wearable tech will become absolute in the near future. Is clothing the biggest and better opportunity to innovate? Blending Human need , Fashion , Tech and Health all in one piece….time will tell us.

This is an exciting time to be working in the digital health innovation industry, actually!

I hope you have enjoyed reading the article as much I enjoyed writing it.

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