Prevention is better than cure, and here are 2 healthtech startups using artificial intelligence to ensure a healthier you

Jay Kim
healthcare technology

Healthcare tech companies are moving beyond simple records, online queueing, and mobile consultations; Artificial intelligence and data will make a big difference in the future of healthtech

Technology remains an integral part of every aspect of our lives. One industry that has traditionally required the most advanced technology at its core is healthcare. Good health is priceless, and as such, a huge amount of money has been invested over the years into medical technology and research ranging from products used in diagnosis, monitoring, and treatment of medical conditions.

Here are two exciting companies in the Health Tech space that could end up being industry game changers:

Now Healthcare Group

Have you ever stopped and wondered why, in one of most sophisticated and well-funded industries such as healthcare, there still exists a number of simple pain points that so negatively affect our livelihood? Take for example the nuisance of a long, unbearable wait just to see a physician. This is usually followed by an additional wait at the pharmacy counter to actually get the prescribed medication.

Lee Dentith was frustrated with the four-hour wait that his sick child had to endure before they could consult with a GP. Given the backdrop of the recent recession in the UK and the ongoing aging population, he realised that there would be cost constraints seen at the National Health Service. Lee needed instant care for his child and saw a huge gap between what he needed and what was available.

When Lee researched the numbers more closely, he found that of the population of 60 million plus in the UK each person on average visited the doctor five times a year. Nearly half of all the appointments took over three days to fulfill and 15 per cent of them took over a week to fulfill.

Also read: 4 ways mobile apps are transforming healthcare

Lee took a very personal look at this pain point and envisioned his dream scenario — one that cut out all the waiting to see a doctor and visit a pharmacist, all with the help of technology. Realizing the high value our modern on-the-go society places on convenience, he founded Now Healthcare Group, the world’s premier telehealth organization, to essentially solve his own problem.

Now Healthcare Group provides the encrypted technology which allows patients to directly consult with a network of vetted physicians. But Lee didn’t just stop there, he also acquired a pharmacy and was able to get it NHS accredited and approved. The total solution in the form of a mobile app allows patients to speak directly with a live doctor, prescribe their medication on the system, send an email to pharmacy, and sync up with a courier to deliver the medicine.

The company’s fastest consultation to date (from inquiry to delivery): 27 minutes.

Another area Now Healthcare Group is expanding in is auto diagnosis. Using artificial intelligence and machine learning, Now Healthcare Group is working on consolidating the knowledge of thousands of doctors amassed in a big data set that will potentially alleviate over 500 million appointments per year.

In the UK the National Health Service is heavily regulated by the Care Quality Commission.

All of the physicians that Now Healthcare Group works with are self insured and self indemnified.

Prenetics

One of the largest debates in the field of medicine remains that of prevention vs. cure and which takes precedence. We’ve all heard the famous Ben Franklin quote “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” yet it still appears that the majority of funding and effort remains on the treatment side of the fence.

Serial entrepreneur Danny Yeung recognized this gap amidst a rapidly transforming healthcare industry. Danny realized that in reality, no one actually wants to see a doctor, let alone make a health insurance claim and after recognizing a much larger potential for this segment he aggressively attacked the industry, despite having zero background in it.

After investing in a company called MultiChain Diagnostics Limited in 2009, Danny saw that use of genetics and genomics testing in Asia was very low by all global standards. By focussing on digital technology and DNA testing, he was able to create digital solutions which grew his newly named company Prenetics into the largest genetic testing digital health company in Southeast Asia.

Also read: Hong Kong’s Prenetics is using genetics to save lives; raises US$10M

Medication is not a one-size-fits-all solution, and everyone has a unique, complex genetic code. When we think about the word genetics we typically think of that which determines our height, eye color and sex. But genetics also plays a major role in how our bodies metabolize and respond to medication.

Because of these genetic differences, two people can take the same dose of the same drug, but respond in very different ways. One person might experience severe side effects while the other would respond favorably to the exact same dose. Prenetics aims to flesh out those differences and focuses on prevention by offering multiple tests including iGenes and myDNA.

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Jay Kim is a Hong Kong-based global investor, author and host of the popular podcast, The Jay Kim Show which educates aspiring entrepreneurs, investors, and startup founders through interviews with top global business leaders. Subscribe via iTunes and feel free to reach out directly to Jay on Twitter @jaykimmer

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