Health is the greatest possession.
— Lao Tzu
Healthcare should be the ultimate consumer market. After all, it’s the one industry that touches everyone at some point in our lives.
And yet, unlike the consumer electronics, automobile, or retail markets, the healthcare market is absolutely not structured around you, the consumer.
Have you ever wondered why:
- Consumer electronics products become better and cheaper every year, while pharmaceuticals become more and more expensive—and even then might not work for many of us? What consumer-focused industry could get away with that?
- As the digital world heads toward greater personalization—you’re getting targeted web and mobile ads based on an internet search from last month—healthcare continues to pursue a largely one-size-fits-all approach?
- With everything you buy, you know the price—except in healthcare, where even the doctor often doesn’t know how much diagnostics or therapies will cost?
- When you visit a new doctor, you still have to call your old doctor and ask them to fax over your medical history?
Healthcare Transformation Begins With Data
As we’ve worked over the years with startups in digital health and related fields, we’ve seen first-hand these problems in healthcare, and we’ve glimpsed some solutions. We’re convinced that data can transform the healthcare market for the better.
Data-driven innovation can improve care, control costs, increase access, and break down the barriers that inhibit efficiency—and innovation—throughout the healthcare system. The implications are profound, and we believe that by focusing on ‘data for good’ we can:
- Transform the patient journey based on the consumer’s perspective, instead of only the health system’s perspective.
- Provide valuable insight via smart phones, wearables, and sensors about the 99% of life outside of healthcare facilities, and integrate that with our medical records, to produce a complete picture of our individual health and healthcare history over a lifetime.
- Make access to healthcare more equitable, improving care in poorly served areas in the developing world and rural regions, as well as for people who lack the ability to pay for medical services.
- Help prevent diseases and unhealthful conditions, or at least detect them earlier. When treatment is necessary, it can be personalized for our particular genetic makeup, environment, and lifestyle.
- Improve the process of drug discovery and development, leading to safer, more effective, and more affordable pharmaceuticals.
- Use data and AI to drive efficiency and innovation while balancing the need to protect privacy and safety.
- Shift the incentives in healthcare that too often work at cross purposes, and instead put patients at the center of efforts and help healthcare to become a consumer-focused industry.
By putting the individual/patient/consumer back at the center of healthcare, we will create a more fertile ground for new innovations, whether in genomics, AI, robotics, or other areas. Entrepreneurs with smart new ideas for personalized medicine, consumer health devices, or remotely delivered care can more easily find customers and build thriving digital health businesses.
Samsung Catalyst Fund: Pursuing Data for Good in Healthcare
At Samsung, we understand data is value-neutral and can be directed in various ways. Addressing the complex challenges of healthcare—to strengthen its prime directive of helping all people live healthier lives—means pursuing balance and applying data intelligently.
As the world’s largest technology platform, we take seriously our responsibility to deliberately steer transformation in the direction of data for good. To help with this effort, we’re launching a Catalyze a Better Future content series.
Throughout the next few months we, in collaboration with leading innovators and thinkers about data and healthcare, will present content—blog posts, videos, articles, and more—exploring various aspects of our data-for-good path.
It is only by coming together that we can find transformative solutions to improve the health and lives of people across the globe—and to nurture the innovations that will lead us to a better future.