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Life Sciences Real Estate in the Time of COVID-19

life sciences

Life Sciences Real Estate in the Time of COVID-19

Increased funding plus employees that need an office makes the Life Sciences real estate sector resilient in a global pandemic.

The life sciences industry has become one of the most talked-about sectors as the entire world races to find a vaccine for COVID-19. In the first six months of 2020, investors have spent more than $16 billion on life sciences, while the National Institutes of Health (NIH) continues to increase its grants. In 1994, NIH gave out $11 billion in grants, and by the end of 2019, that number jumped to $39.1 billion – fueled by COVID-19-related therapeutics, antibody tests, and vaccines. Additionally, the aging U.S. population needing life-sustaining care, wellness-conscious millennials, and a prescription drug market on track to reach $1 trillion by 2022 has also played a part.

In an effort to continue research, development, and production, life sciences companies, owners, and operators of laboratories and office space are fast-tracking the use of current and new technologies.

The Importance of Technology

Over the years, technology has improved the R&D landscape of life sciences by significantly reducing costs. Connections between tech and biotech are creating more targeted drug development, replacing the previous time-consuming theories. Nowadays, interaction simulations can be run at the click of a button, and clinical trials can be done quicker and cheaper through technology efficiencies. Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become so valuable in finding links in the ever-growing global data resources. Also, it has created more platforms and business opportunities for biotech companies to utilize.

These days, many work-from-home policies are hard to apply to the work done in labs. So, life sciences companies have relied on scheduling and remote communication tech to coordinate calendars for on-site employees to conduct activities that cannot be done at home. Calendar tools with features that allow all employees access to real-time scheduling software have also become more widespread. And some companies have even sped up the integration of cloud-based platforms into ongoing research. This movement toward remote research tools has been inspired by the pandemic, allowing researchers to analyze data from home and focus during their time in the lab.

Market Applications

The pandemic has forced pharmaceutical companies to confront new challenges to traditional methods when conducting clinical trials. Many life sciences companies have had to ramp up fast, integrate virtual engagement into their clinical trial protocols, all while using telehealth technologies to connect with trial participants more widely than ever before.

In fact, in March 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued guidance bolstering clinical trial sponsors to “evaluate whether alternative methods for safety assessments (phone contact, virtual visit, alternative location for the assessment…) could be implemented if necessary.  Some industry experts this transition to more tech-focused engagement would have taken many more years without the momentum ignited by the pandemic.

Additionally, COVID-19 has had a monumental impact on how technology is used in today’s drug development and drug applications. Many life sciences companies are increasing the use of AI in the search for a vaccine and identifying existing drugs that may be repurposed for therapeutic solutions. AI can make data collection and analysis so much more efficient in clinical trials and can be used to synthesize data too fast to determine drug candidates’ safety and efficacy.

Who’s Investing?

Today, with a significant focus on health and wellness, life science companies expand with large investments from financial and corporate venture capital groups. As a result, investment capital is surging into the life science market. The U.S. is the leader for investment by a lot, with China right behind it, having had some large investment rounds. While the life science market is healthy, other industries are in distress. As we all know, retail is in trouble, and corporate offices are struggling, especially in the wake of COVID-19. With the increased telecommuting, the future of the office sector is uncertain. So, life sciences have become a focus in the real estate industry, making it attractive to investors looking for an opportunity.

There is a lot of VC money being invested in life sciences, so these companies are well-capitalized. This sector has traditionally weathered economic challenges well. Think tech crash of the early 2000s and the Great Recession as examples. Since life science companies like to invest in their premises and stay long term, rents are higher, making life sciences a really attractive investment opportunity right now. Rents are continuing to increase, with sustained growth in most areas, and that growth has been consistent over time, making for a smart investment.

Key Issues to Watch For

To manage the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, owners and managers of properties that house life sciences offices, manufacturing, and laboratory space have been able to apply many of the pandemic-related solutions that they have used elsewhere. Given that many labs are typically single-tenant buildings, landlords can cater to unique concerns. However, life sciences tenants can be less experienced than others, presenting landlords and property managers with an opportunity to add value by providing tenants with advice on the solutions they have seen work effectively across the buildings they own and manage, such as sanitization and touchless technologies.

Long term, some see the pandemic and corresponding focus on the design and repositioning of spaces for tenants as a continuing driver toward developing healthy buildings. The users of life science office and lab space are more than likely to be some of the most highly-educated consumers of real estate in any market. For them, the management of space in a sustainable way has become an expectation instead of a plus. Moving forward, competitive advantage will be the integration of health and wellness facilities and technologies as we enter the post-COVID-19 “new normal.”

Where Do We Go From Here?

Looking into the future, as the life sciences boom continues in the real estate industry, owners and operators must be aware of how they and their tenants can harness the right technology to address the obstacles from the pandemic. To successfully market spaces to biotech, pharmaceutical, and medical device companies, real estate developers must be mindful of this challenge, as their users are likely to be more tech-savvy than the average real estate consumer. On the other hand, owners of older spaces hoping to reposition them as an office or lab space must convince potential tenants to integrate innovative technologies as effectively as developers of new modern spaces.

As real estate owners, investors, and operators move into the post-COVID-19 world with a focus on life sciences, they will need to demonstrate to the market that they have a keen understanding of current issues and solutions applicable to life sciences tenants and how the right technology can solve them.

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Louis Lehot is the founder of L2 Counsel. Louis is a corporate, securities, and M & A lawyer, and he helps his clients, whether they be public or private companies, financial sponsors, venture capitalists, investors or investment banks, in forming, financing, governing, buying and selling companies. He is formerly the co-managing partner of DLA Piper’s Silicon Valley office and co-chair of its leading venture capital and emerging growth company team. 

L2 Counsel, P.C. is an elite boutique law firm based in Silicon Valley designed to serve entrepreneurs, innovative companies and investors with sound legal strategies and solutions. 

vaccine

FLU VACCINES RESULT FROM GLOBAL COLLABORATION: A COVID-19 VACCINE WILL TOO

A COVID-19 vaccine will follow flu footsteps

The global coronavirus outbreak has upended the lives of billions around the world. As anxiety levels remain high and the economy is in free-fall, it remains unclear how we will return to “normal life” in the short term.

In the long term, vaccine development is our best bet for a future free of COVID-19. Several companies around the world have already launched vaccine discovery with unprecedented speed. Some were able to begin small clinical trials as soon as mid-March, though expectations should be calibrated as the clinical trials process to test safety and immune response is a lengthy one.

The race to a coronavirus vaccine is emblematic of the balance between competition and collaboration, both routine and natural for the global health community. After all, experts around the world collaborate each year to develop, produce and deliver the influenza vaccine, also known as the flu vaccine, to billions of people. They have been working together this way for decades.

The first flu vaccine

According to an article published in the Journal of Preventive Medicine and Hygiene, the earliest confirmed flu pandemic on record first appeared in 1580 in Asia and Russia. It spread from there to Europe and northwest Africa.

Yet it wasn’t until the 1940s when the University of Michigan researchers developed the first inactivated flu vaccine using fertilized chicken eggs, still the primary method for making commercial vaccines today.

Phases in Drug Development TradeVistas

Tracking global strains for drug development

The flu virus changes annually, making it unpredictable. Developing an annual vaccine is the product of a globally-educated guess.

Members of the World Health Organization (WHO) established a surveillance system in 1952 to monitor the emergence of different strains of influenza that have the potential to become a pandemic. The Global Influenza Surveillance and Response System (GISRS) comprises an international network of national laboratories in more than 100 countries. These labs conduct surveillance and share information (including representative viruses) with five WHO centers located in the United States, UK, Australia, Japan and China.

Twice a year, in preparation for the flu season in the northern and southern hemispheres, the GISRS centers convene with representatives from public health bodies, leading research institutions and private sector experts to evaluate and recommend strains to include in the seasonal vaccine. Ultimately, each country decides for itself which viruses will be included in the flu vaccine they license that year.

A network for pandemic preparedness

The WHO also maintains a Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Framework, known as PIP, which includes member governments, vaccine manufacturers, and other stakeholders.

The PIP Framework governs the sharing of virus strains and PIP-related biological materials across organizations and borders, which is critical for determining which virus strains manufacturers should target in the seasonal vaccine. The Framework also coordinates access by the world’s most vulnerable populations to vaccines and treatments and manages agreements on intellectual property and licensing of the vaccine.

PIP’s industry partners receive access to the virus strains they need to make the vaccine. In exchange, they agree to provide benefits to the WHO and to developing countries in the form of vaccine donations, royalty-free licensing to manufacturers in low-income markets to make the vaccine, or a guarantee of a specified quantity of vaccine supply at lower prices, among other arrangements.

Flu Surveillance System

Vaccine production and distribution

Once the most dangerous virus strains for the upcoming seasonal flu have been selected, manufacturers turn to producing the vaccine. According to Sanofi Pasteur, the top global producer of the seasonal influenza shot, it takes between 6 and 36 months to manufacture, package and deliver high-quality vaccines to those who need them.

The viruses are first grown in a lab setting, after which the antigens are extracted from the viruses and purified to eliminate any raw material traces. Next, the virus goes through an in-activation process that retains the properties that will elicit an immune response in the body. Next, the active substances are combined into a single chemical component. These chemical components can be combined with others to form a single shot, like the MMR vaccine that includes compounds inoculating against measles, mumps and rubella. The vaccines are then filled into a vial or syringe, packaged and shipped all around the world.

Vaccine makers have to produce several different vaccines to meet the strain selection of each country. For example: CSL, another leading influenza vaccine maker, produced seven different influenza vaccines for the last flu season.

Moon shot against any flu virus

The laborious process of monitoring, surveilling, selecting, and then inoculating against specific flu virus strains, still leaves the possibility that an unexpected strain will emerge and result in a pandemic. Some seasonal flu vaccines are not an effective match against the strain that emerges. These lingering uncertainties have motivated the public health community to work towards making a universal flu vaccine – one that could provide long-lasting protection for multiple strains of influenza in one shot.

The potential for such a shot has captured the imagination of world leaders and influencers, including Bill Gates who committed millions in grants to this research. President Trump signed an Executive Order on September 19, 2019 that directs the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to promote new vaccine manufacturing technologies and advance the development of vaccines that provide longer-lasting coverage against a broad range of flu viruses.

Researchers have seen some success. One example: early trials focused on proteins in the flu virus that remain stable and activate an immune response to stop and destroy the infection. While we are still years away from having access to such a vaccine, there is some momentum building behind this approach.

The here and now vaccine

We don’t know how soon we could have a vaccine against COVID-19. But we do know that COVID-19 vaccine development is benefiting from years of global collaboration on seasonal flu vaccine pandemic preparedness. This includes sharing biological resources, disseminating data and research, and coordinating manufacturing rights and distribution.

Is it a perfect system? No – but doctors, scientists, labs, drug companies and national health institutions have experience in what it takes to bring the world’s knowledge to bear in a well-coordinated framework, which could speed up the discovery of a COVID-19 vaccine.

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Ayelet Haran is a contributor to TradeVistas. She is a government affairs and policy executive in the life sciences industry. She holds a Master’s of Public Administration degree in International Economic Policy from Columbia University.

This article originally appeared on TradeVistas.org. Republished with permission.

healthcare

DEVELOPED COUNTRIES ARE THE LARGEST IMPORTERS OF HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONALS

Living Longer

Personal and home health aides, registered nurses, and medical and nursing assistants are among the fastest growing occupations in the United States. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 1.2 million new personal and home health aide positions – and the need for another 372,000 registered nurses – by 2028. Due to the shortage of qualified healthcare workers, immigrants held 15 percent of all registered nursing positions in the United States in 2016. On April 22, President Trump signed an Executive Order to pause immigration due to COVID-19, but exempted physicians and nurses.

This is not uncommon in developed countries with a growing aging population who are living longer. About eight percent of nurses in Canada are foreign-trained, 15 percent in the UK, 19 percent in Switzerland and 27 percent in New Zealand. The numbers are higher for foreign-trained doctors: 24 percent in Canada, 28 percent in the UK, 27 percent in Switzerland and 42 percent in New Zealand.

Training for Export

India has the world’s highest number of medical schools and is the world’s largest source of immigrant physicians. An estimated 69,000 Indian-trained physicians worked in the United States, UK, Canada and Australia in 2017, according to the OECD. India is second only to the Philippines in training nurses. Nearly 56,000 Indian-trained nurses work in those same four countries, equal to about three percent of total registered nurses in India.

The Philippines has an established international nursing training program and is the largest exporter of nurses globally – accounting for roughly 25 percent of all overseas nurses worldwide. About 85 percent of employed Filipino nurses work in one of more than 50 countries around the world. In the United States, an estimated 20 percent all the registered nurses in California are Filipino. It’s a strong professional cadre. The Philippine Nursing Association of America represents over 145,000 Filipino nurses and has its own theme song.

% foreign trained nurses and docs in OECD

The “Brain Drain” Concern

Health care professionals migrate for many reasons: continuing education, better pay, the opportunity to send remittances to their families and home nation, the prestige of practicing in another country, and others. Filipino nurses in the United States earn 15 times more than those working in the Philippines. Filipino nurses working abroad remit about $1 billion to the Philippines every year, a substantial portion of total remittances which drives 13 percent of the Philippines’ GDP.

International mobility of health workers is accelerating. The number of migrant doctors and nurses working within OECD countries increased by 60 percent over the last decade, along with significant increases in intraregional mobility and migration of healthcare workers among developing countries.

Public health groups including the World Health Organization (WHO) are concerned that health care immigration reduces the number of professional health workers available to serve their home countries. Developing countries are often especially in need of more personnel. Declaring 2020 the Year of the Nurse and Midwife, WHO says 18 million more health care providers are needed worldwide to achieve universal health coverage by 2030. To address the “brain drain” concern, WHO developed a voluntary Global Code that promotes adequate staffing of national health systems and “ethical international recruitment of health personnel”.

Mobility and “Ethical Recruitment”

In a 2019 joint study, the WHO and World Trade Organization (WTO) examined the relationship between free trade agreements that improve health worker mobility and the recruitment goals of the Code. The study primarily reviewed so-called “Mode 4” commitments that deal with the temporary presence of foreign natural persons supplying trade in health-related services.

Commitments have been made by 139 WTO members to liberalize trade in services. Of those, 69 members have taken at least one commitment relating to the provision of health services, from hospital care to midwife services. The commitments vary widely, enabling education and skills exchanges, investment, mobility for charitable purposes, and the protection of health worker welfare.

As an example, the Indonesia–Japan Economic Partnership Agreement includes development assistance by Japan’s International Cooperation Agency to support nursing education in Indonesia. In 2019, Japan updated its Economic Partnership Agreements with Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam to extend the period of time a nursing candidate can stay in Japan to obtain national nursing qualifications and healthcare worker certifications.

The joint WHO-WTO study makes no real conclusion about the compatibility of the Code with greater mobility through trade agreements. It suggests that further analysis such as economic needs tests or labor market tests could help sending and receiving countries understand the impact of healthcare worker service exports on sustainable development.

call out on HC worker impact (1)

COVID-19 is Shifting the Global Healthcare Trade Landscape

COVID-19 may be accelerating two key trends in healthcare work, while at the same time reversing (perhaps temporarily) the trend of job growth by inducing layoffs in the industry.

Telemedicine:

Encompassing remote patient assessment and monitoring as well as health education, the global telemedicine market was projected to grow from $70 billion in 2020 to $266.8 billion by 2026. COVID-19 is accelerating the trend. In March, the U.S. government announced it would temporarily pay clinicians to provide telehealth services for Medicare beneficiaries and would expand the communications platforms that could be used.

Telemedicine has long been encouraged in developing countries, supported by international development agencies and non-government organizations. It can help overcome short-staffing limitations and provide support for local clinicians through overseas physicians who can confirm a diagnosis and collaborate on treatment plans as part of global trade in services.

Robotics:

Robotics are being deployed to decrease COVID-19 risks to frontline healthcare workers. A field hospital in Wuhan, China serving 20,000 patients was staffed by robots that monitored patients’ vital signs through smart bracelets and rings that synced with an AI platform. Other robots served food, drinks and medicine to patients, while other autonomous droids sprayed disinfectant and cleaned the floors. Other countries like South Korea and Lebanon are using robots to measure temperatures, distribute hand sanitizer and perform disinfecting services.

Layoffs and Mobility Restrictions:

COVID-19 is causing governments to retrench in some countries that export healthcare workers,. In March, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) temporarily suspended the deployment of all health care workers “until the national state of emergency is lifted,” freezing the fulfillment of existing contracts with hospitals around the globe. Meanwhile, routine healthcare has been stymied due to ongoing stay-at-home directives, causing massive financial distress to the healthcare industry and significant layoffs.

In all of these ways, COVID-19 may be changing the outlook for cross-border global healthcare services for years to come.

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Sarah Smiley is a strategic communications and policy expert with over 20 years in international trade and government affairs, working in the U.S. Government, private sector and international organizations.

This article originally appeared on TradeVistas.org. Republished with permission.

healthcare

Healthcare Analytics Market Size to Cross $18,250.8 million by 2025

Emergence of Big Data in healthcare and its impact on healthcare analytics market growth and set to exceed USD 18,250.8 million by 2025

There has been a significant paradigm shift in recent years pertaining to the collection, storage, maintenance, management and analysis of data. Over the years, bolstered by the wave of digitalization sweeping across the globe, data collection is transitioning gradually from paper-based charts to digital real-time analytics systems. 

This new data ecosystem is designed not just to enhance disease prevention rates but also to improve medical diagnostics, administer medications securely and augment overall treatment processes. Consequently, healthcare offerings are evolving from a one-size-fits-all approach to more patient-centric, customized treatment plans. 

The rising prevalence of big data owing to digitization of analytics is promoting the adoption of electronic health records or EHRs for patient’s health data collection, which is likely to add great impetus to global healthcare analytics market expansion.

The evolution of the healthcare landscape is generating immense demand for advanced healthcare data analytics. 

Healthcare analytics or clinical data analytics entails the use of EHRs to garner actionable insights into patient’s health condition and develop suitable treatment plans.

As the number of patients seeking healthcare solutions continues to surge and resources continue to deplete, conventional claims-based analytics systems are unable to accommodate the rapidly arising healthcare issues. This combined with the immense capacity of clinical data in EHRs is a major driving force behind the popularity of advanced healthcare analytics.

Considering the prolific expansion of the healthcare industry, numerous industry players are making persistent efforts towards enhancing health data analytics systems to streamline patient care.

For instance, InterSystems has recently partnered with digital engineering expert Virtusa in a bid to advance healthcare data analytics capabilities in vLife, Virtusa’s cloud-based life sciences platform.

The system comprises a robust, HIPAA-compliant data repository with multiple sources of data. Additionally, the platform features pre-built APIs as well as AI and machine learning-based models.

Prediction to Prevention – The Significance of Predictive Analysis in Healthcare Applications

Predictive analytics is a sophisticated healthcare data analytics tool that leverages historical data and real-time information in order to forecast potential outcomes. Considering the healthcare landscape, predictive analytics can be applied to consumer, claims or patient data through which healthcare workers can predict patterns or trends which can help enhance patient care or outreach programs.

To illustrate, according to a 2017 study, the University of Pennsylvania utilized a predictive analytics tool integrated with machine learning and EHR information to detect severe sepsis or septic shock in on-track patients, nearly 12 hours before the condition manifested.

Burgeoning need for Real-Time Healthcare Solutions

Empowered by the digital revolution, a large number of healthcare management systems are now leveraging real-time, event-driven data feeds. 

Since healthcare is a real-time activity, the ability to accumulate health-related data in real-time is a great boon for healthcare workers and clinicians. It gives them the ability to make point-of-care lifesaving decisions and reduce the dependency on resources, thereby cutting back treatment costs to a significant extent.

Real-time analytics demonstrate great potential in various healthcare-related scenarios; for instance, in the case of a patient’s blood pressure signifying an alarming increase, the healthcare analytics will send a real-time report to the doctor, who can immediately act on administering suitable measures to counteract the condition.

Many prominent industry players are working towards adopting real-time monitoring into their product innovations. For example, Apple has just revealed a new Apple Watch Series 4 with an integrated EKG (electrocardiogram) features, which helps users track their cardiovascular information in real time and alert them to any undiagnosed conditions.

Healthcare Analytics Transformation through Big Data

The emergence of big data has brought about a tremendous shift in the way data is collected, analyzed and used in a plethora of industries. Big data comprises large quantities of data generated through digitization of myriad sources, which is then merged and analyzed by specialized technologies. When used in healthcare analytics, big data makes use of population or individual-specific health data which can potentially mitigate the risk of epidemic, treat maladies and reduce costs, among other benefits.

In light of the changing healthcare spectrum, more and more physicians are basing their decisions on ample quantities of clinical data instead of simply asserting their professional theoretical opinion. 

With the healthcare industry swelling and more and more data being collected, professionals need a support system to ensure proper management and application of data. This is perhaps why the demand for big data analytics across the healthcare sector is witnessing such tremendous growth.

The U.S healthcare analytics market is currently making immense strides in big data analytics, by ensuring the adoption of EHRs across nearly 94% hospitals. A major industry player in the U.S market is Kaiser Permanente, who has developed and integrated a novel system called Health Connect. This system allows data sharing across multiple facilities and streamlines the use of EHRs.  

Source: https://www.gminsights.com/industry-analysis/healthcare-analytics-market 

ups flight forward

UPS Flight Forward Boasts First-Ever Part 135 Standard Certification

Drones continue to make news headlines with the latest announcement from UPS Flight Forward, Inc. confirming the first-ever government-approved Part 135 Standard certification awarded by the FAA earlier this week. This certification – which is known as the highest level, supports the UPS subsidiary to further opportunities in drone deliveries including operating drones beyond the visual line of sight (BVLOS).

“This is history in the making, and we aren’t done yet,” said David Abney, UPS chief executive officer. “Our technology is opening doors for UPS and solving problems in unique ways for our customers. We will soon announce other steps to build out our infrastructure, expand services for healthcare customers and put drones to new uses in the future.”

UPS Flight Forward deployed the first BVLOS drone delivery to WakeMed’s hospital in Raleigh, North Carolina shortly after receiving the certification. The government-exempted BVLOS flight was carried out by Matternet’s M2 quadcopter. UPS partnered with drone creator Matternet earlier this year to expand supporting healthcare delivery operations specifically for WakeMed’s hospital campus. These operations further reiterate the demand for efficient, speedy deliveries for the medical industry and its patients.

“UPS Flight Forward is benefitting from our knowledge as one of the world’s leading airlines. The Flight Forward organization is building a full-scale drone operation based on the rigorous reliability, safety, and control requirements of the FAA,” Abney said.

The Part 135 Standard certification carries significant advantages with minimal restrictions to UPS, such as no limits on the scale of operations, unlimited numbers of drones and remote operators, cargo weights exceeding 55 pounds, and more. By obtaining this certification, common barriers associated with drone deliveries are eliminated.

“This is a big step forward in safely integrating unmanned aircraft systems into our airspace, expanding access to healthcare in North Carolina and building on the success of the national UAS Integration Pilot Program to maintain American leadership in unmanned aviation,” said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao.

health care

How Technology Can Make Health Care Cheaper and More Efficient

As the rising costs of health care remain a major concern for consumers, industry experts say new technology could help reduce costs and increase efficiency — a potential win-win for patients and providers.

The way advancements in technology could work for both involves the accumulation and distribution of patient data, says Alex Zlatin, CEO of Maxim Software Systems (alexzlatin.com).

“Whether it’s related to doctors’ offices, specialists, hospitals or oral care, data is the foundation to curb costs,” says Zlatin, the author of Responsible Dental Ownership. “Data is the key to delivering accountable, affordable and informed care.

“While many have struggled to use data effectively, the time is ripe for the industry to become data-driven and, with that, align costs, procedures, and outcomes. Researchers and innovators are bringing medical care and the dental industry into a new era of trying to improve effectiveness and curb the cost of care. But it’s the responsibility of providers and their offices to stay current with data management practices to help make this all work.”

Zlatin offers the following points about technology’s impact on data accessibility, and the associated benefits, in health care:

Telehealth and consumer technology. These are playing larger roles in supporting new health care delivery models, with companies like Apple and Uber getting involved. Apple has developed mobile apps and Uber is launching a medical-transit program. “Both examples speak to another shift pushing the industry toward value-based care: consumerization,” Zlatin says. “Patients are bearing a larger portion of costs, and with more options for where to get care, they are becoming more discerning and demanding.”

Exchange of patient data. This is one technology evolution that’s already helping health care reduce costs and increase efficiency. “It allows doctors to better understand the context of a patient’s overall health,” Zlatin says. “Improving the integration of the electronic health record means labs, care plans, and medical histories from different sources are available quickly. Thus the provider can make a clear diagnosis and develop the most effective care plan in less time.”

Full digital office management systems. Having a digital system streamlines record-keeping. In dental offices, digital processes keep the provider and patient informed regarding hygiene appointments, future treatments and account balances.”Having a scheduling system, billing and personal information, charts and integrated X-rays all by digital means makes for a more efficient practice and enhances the patient experience,” Zlatin says.

Wearable devices and patient lifestyle. Information from wearable health devices incorporate valuable data about patient health behaviors, including heart rate, sleep patterns, physical activity and calorie burn. “Those different factors will integrate into decision-making for your health,” Zlatin says. “Expanded access to data also can help manage patients’ costs. Providers will have access to information such as current benefits offered by insurance providers, based on a patient’s health profile.”

-More importance on data protection. Patient privacy must remain a priority for technologists and providers. “Advancements in technology and data integration heighten the importance of patient record protection,” Zlatin says. “Large volumes of data bring ethical concerns about proper use of patient information. There needs to be a regulatory component to ensure tools are used properly and to protect the patients. And choosing the right partner to manage data will become even more critical.”

“The future of health care includes technology that could seamlessly combine data on a patient’s medical history, real-time health, insurance coverage, and financial information,” Zlatin says. “All of that can support provider decision-making, improve patient health, and reduce costs.”

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Alex Zlatin, author of the book Responsible Dental Ownership (alexzlatin.com), had more than 10 years of management experience before he accepted the position of CEO of dental practice management company Maxim Software Systems. He earned his MBA at Edinburgh Business School and a B.Sc. in Technology Management at HIT in Israel.

His company helps struggling dental professionals take control of their practices and reach the next level of success with responsible leadership strategies.