Mckinsey: The era of exponential improvement in healthcare?

Technology-driven innovation holds the potential to improve our understanding of patients, enable the delivery of more convenient, individualized care—and create $350 billion–$410 billion in annual value by 2025.

Healthcare advances have delivered great benefits to society, bringing material improvements in average life spans and quality of life.1 Yet these improvements have come at a cost—an ever-expanding portion of the US GDP is being consumed by healthcare expenses.2 Could technology, enabling delivery of healthcare advances while improving affordability, be part of the solution? We have reviewed the evidence, done the math, and identified technology-enabled use cases that could create between $350 billion and $410 billion in annual value by 2025 (out of the $5.34 trillion in healthcare spending projected for that year3 ).

Technology-driven progress can be quite expensive in the early days as initial R&D costs are amortized. The next five to seven years are likely to require a sustained upshift in investment to unlock the potential of these assets, and the strategies used to pursue this potential could have significant effects on both their effectiveness and rate of adoption. Once progress gets underway and the exponential improvements seen typically with information and communication technologies take root, at-scale costs could drop rapidly. For instance, the cost of genome sequencing has dropped significantly over the past decade and a half.

Emerging technologies are reshaping healthcare in multiple ways—how consumers access it, how and which providers deliver it, and what health outcomes it achieves. We identify nine emerging technologies: connected and cognitive devices, electroceuticals, targeted and personalized medicine, robotics, 3D printing, big data and analytics, artificial intelligence, blockchain, and robotic process automation. Some of these innovations are specific to healthcare; others are more advanced in nonhealthcare sectors but hold tremendous potential in healthcare. Use cases and sources of value from these emerging technologies do not exist in isolation. Innovators are considering how to integrate them and deliver transformative change.

As we look toward the future of healthcare, there are four industry-level changes that could disrupt healthcare value pools as they exist today: modernized transaction and data infrastructure; radically more efficient medical supply chain; faster, more effective therapy development; and new, personalized, and intuitive healthcare ecosystems.

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