Top Cities for Medical Innovation

Medicine is an ever-changing world.  Whether we realize it or not every day new innovations are introduced that effect how we get access to healthcare, what treatments are available, and how medical professionals understand health.  These discoveries originate in various cities around the world and gradually expand globally, but for those eager to have access to the most cutting-edge medical knowledge, choosing the right city to live in is important.

While many cities have a variety of top-tier research and innovation hubs, these are the top cities pioneering unique practices and products for personal health.

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BostonBehavioral Economics

Massachusetts General Hospital and a variety of researchers in Boston have begun focusing on the roles of behavioral economics in healthcare.  People often act irrationally and deviate in action from what expected results should be.  This habit of not acting as one ought to can lead to ballooning costs, misaligned incentives, and lower quality care in the medical space.

Mass General started introducing a series of behavioral economics studies to improve the actions of doctors to reduce costs and improve quality of service.  These actions ranged from identifying the number of tests submitted by each physician to indicate who was sending way too many or way too few tests to the lab and building in incentives for doctors to more routinely wash their hands, use digital care services, and reduce energy costs.

These tests led to roughly 80% of the doctors saying they believed they were more focused on the quality of care and were interested in continuing the programs.  Furthermore, there was a significant cost reduction, which allowed more resources to be dedicated to improved services or even passing savings onto patients.

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San FranciscoPatient Portals

As the tech-hub of the world, San Francisco’s biggest desire to fine-tune user interfaces for anything and everything.  San Francisco and Silicon Valley overall cares about how people interact with services and products and hopes to optimize every industry through better user experiences.

Within the medical field this means the introduction of patient portals and mobile apps so people can have better access to their medical information, easier communication with healthcare professionals, and overall a more seamless experience with staying well.

Hospitals and small practices, such as Forward, and independent portals, such as 22otters, BetterDoctor, CareZone, and more, all aim to help people improve their health through mobile experiences.  Since people spend more time online on their phone and the youngest generation spends about a third of awake hours on their smartphone, these initiatives pose to offer some of the most consumer-friendly innovations for the medical space.

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SingaporePayment Systems

One of the most intriguing components of the Singaporean medical system is their means of regulating cost to keep national healthcare at merely 3% of their GDP, in comparison to the lack luster infrastructure of America, which totals about 17% of the US GDP.  This can be accredited to two innovative applications of payment systems within the Singapore medical industry.

Firstly, the process operates on a highly economic point of view, where patients are allowed to opt for higher or lower quality of care with matching price levels.  For instance, when you go to the hospital your room can either be a single or have as many as eight people, with the single being much more expensive.  Additionally, doctors have ratings not just for overall care or specialties but also for specific practices, so an orthodontist who is great at braces but less great at maxillofacial surgery would have differ ratings for each procedure and those are then built into the pricing.

Secondly, if you are a citizen of Singapore you receive a minimum of 50% cost subsidization due to the national healthcare plan.  As your income diminishes you can receive more benefits as well, but will always need some level of “skin in the game.”  However, this subsidization only covers the public health sector, so a portion of society will even opt for even higher quality of care and pay out of pocket.  Overall, Singapore has created a sophisticated pricing and payment system to account for varied willingness to pay and desired quality of care so as to both allocate treatment efficiently and ensure patients have access to healthcare and knowledge of the services rendered.

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While not necessarily limited to Basel, Switzerland, this city is the location of many of the headquarters and executive teams for the top pharmaceutical companies worldwide.  Novartis and Roche, the second and third largest players in the pharma industry are both based in Basel with over 120 other firms also based in the city.

Roche is responsible for drugs such as Tamiflu, Valium, various cancer and HIV tests and treatments, insulin, much of the vitamins market, and more.  Novartis created Ritalin, oncology prescriptions, and various hypertension medicines.  Overall, with pharmaceuticals offering one of the most prominent treatment paths for doctors, knowledge of the latest drug offerings is critical for improving treatment and much of the lifesaving medicines on the market come from Basel.

You can wait for the most cutting-edge medical practices to come to your town or petition your physician to stay in the know and pick up innovative works, but if the most inventive treatment is your goal, these are the best cities to be in for first crack at the best medical ideas.  The United States has become a hub for innovation and unique business practices, but when it comes to efficient industry structures most American’s understand there is much to be desired of the United States healthcare system.  These types of innovations take much longer to test and spread across the map, so if superior medical approaches is a high priority of yours, look to these cities and others for a better idea of where in the world the best medical innovations are popping up.

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