The future of the hydraulic healthcare system: Why innovators should be paying attention

The future of the hydraulic healthcare system: Why innovators should be paying attention

At the final MaRS Future of Medicine event of 2013, Dr. Les Levin, president of Health Quality Ontario’s Evidence Development and Standards Team, spoke about the future of innovation in the healthcare space.

As the healthcare system grows, due to factors such as an aging population and climate change, an unprecedented fiscal constraint comes with it. Dr. Levin likened the healthcare system of the future to a hydraulic system, a series of valves that control a fixed amount of fluid based on changing demands in the system. Innovators are critical to this system, as they provide better technologies that will improve the system’s function and advancement.

Innovations in healthcare are needed to displace current technologies and to lead to system-wide efficiencies, such as decreased hospital admissions and improved cost efficiencies and patient outcomes. It is key, however, that innovators note the importance of evidence for backing up their technologies.

Evidence drives choice

Dr. Levin believes that a trend is developing among patients to take a more active approach to the medical treatments they receive, questioning innovations and making decisions based on evidence. The public is demanding greater transparency around clinical technologies and, as a result, the adoption of such technologies into the healthcare system will require strong evidence to validate efficacy.

It’s important for innovators to take note of this when attempting to bring their technology to market. Companies often get caught up in passing regulatory hurdles and end up overlooking the necessities that lead to market penetration once the technology has been approved.

Insights for innovators

In his talk, Dr. Levin provided insights around some important factors that innovators should pay attention to in the next five years as a result of climate, societal and economic changes. He also focused on the specific innovation trends in three healthcare disciplines—genetics, information technology and diagnostics— highlighting disruptive technologies in these fields and the impact they will have on the healthcare system.

To learn more about the future of the healthcare system, view Dr. Levin’s slide presentation.

Feature photo credit: Human skeleton