It has been over a decade since the release of the iPhone. In these past 10 years, society has become mobile-centric and the amount of time spent on our phones has passed over 30% of our waking time for younger demographics. Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram have grown to huge heights, with Facebook being the single largest community on Earth beating every country, non-profit, and NGO. Technology is everywhere and it is hard to imagine a world without these Silicon Valley innovations.
However, if we think back to our medical experiences a decade ago, short of slightly different medications and perhaps more advanced computers and televisions in the offices, everything is pretty much the same. Granted this has more to do with the length of time it takes to get medical improvements approved for consumer interaction. Also, cutting-edge improvements are usually seen by those with serious medical situations.
Despite 2007-2017 showing minimal changes in medical companies, the next decade is poised to bring about sweeping changes in all realms of the medical industry. These are the top five most disruptive medical startups which will be driving those changes.
While definitely in the range of innovation most citizens will never directly interact with personally, BioBots is on the frontier of inventing 3D printers for biological materials. With the ever-growing need for heart transplants and organ donors, BioBots could eliminate this problem entirely by allowing doctors to print out perfect matches of any variety of tissues, organs, bone marrow, etc.
The technology still has much more development before we will see people receive 3D printed hearts, but they are already able to create living tissues and have working products placed in labs around the world. Whether or not complex organ creation will be achieved in the next ten years, BioBots is pushing the medical world in ways no tech firm has done before and offers hope for thousands of people around the world who either need or will need organ donations.
- Flatiron Health
Big Data was one of the biggest buzzwords in Silicon Valley in recent years, with companies coming up with all kinds of data harvesting and analysis tools. These tools typically centered around helping companies better identify target customers, improve operations, predict events, and other business related functions. On the other end of the spectrum is Flatiron Health, who aims to use organized data to help fight cancer.
Many labs, researchers, and teams around the world are working diligently to fight cancer and help those with cancer overcome the disease. Until Flatiron Health came around, much of these fights were fought individually and communication and collaboration was at a minimum. This suite of data organization tools allows for the most recent set of oncological data to be spread around the world instantaneously and help the global fight to end cancer.
Anyone who has had to help care for an elderly relative knows the struggle to find adequate help, whether a visiting nurse, nursing facility, or caregiver. Hometeam is an in-home technology service to connect elderly people with caregivers and help everyone through the process.
This company may not be aiding in the development of cures or pushing forward cutting-edge research, but with Americans living longer and longer, elderly-care is an increasingly important facet of our medical system. The retired population will more than double in size by the year 2020 mainly due to Baby Boomers hitting the 65-mark and current elderly care services are neither good enough nor reliable to make sure this large segment of the population lives out their days in comfort. Hometeam will change that and take a burden off of those younger relations charged with managing the process.
One of the most troublesome tasks is finding the right healthcare professional for your needs. Unlike restaurants or barbers where a bad experience can be shrugged off with minimal problems and suggestions are as easy as asking your friends, medicine is a much more tailored experience, often ruled by privacy concerns and the need for specialty-care. When you need a medical professional, ZocDoc is a database of 5-star healthcare professionals that combines review systems, recommendations, and scheduling.
As one of the largest databases of top-tier medical professionals, ZocDoc allows for individuals to receive the best quality of care, seamlessly find appointments for any set of needs they might have, and deals with checking insurance coverage as well.
- POC Medical Systems
Point-of-Care Medical Systems is an innovative breast cancer testing system which is drastically cheaper than lab-based alternatives and can be performed by a doctor at the “point-of-care.” This means results come back within minutes rather than days or weeks. Improving the speed and convenience of breast cancer checks as well as reducing the costs of performing the tests means more men and women will be able to quickly get tests done and never have to worry about whether insurance will cover for the tests.
The first step to prevention of cancer is routine testing and POC Medical Systems is already improving the means of testing by leaps and bounds. Furthermore, the company is using there rapid testing technology to try to create other point-of-care solutions for doctors and patients.
Whether it is finding an ordinary doctor, getting tested for potentially lethal diseases, coordinating care for the elderly, or research to push the boundaries of medical capabilities, Silicon Valley is developing a plethora of revolutionary medical companies, technologies, and solutions. As the next decade comes upon us, these innovations will gradually reshape the way we interact with medical institutions and increase the quality of care.