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Disruptive Technologies and Life Sciences

Date: 24 June 2015

Technology is evolving at a rapid pace – this is a fact that cannot be ignored. With revolutionary technological advances in mobile connectivity, M2M, wearable technologies, 3D printing and big data, this article looks at how disruptive technologies are infiltrating the Life Sciences industry.

Disruptive technologies are certainly infiltrating and revolutionising the Life Sciences sector. Within this plethora of change, a notable trend has caught our eye: The growth of telehealth.

Telehealth, as defined by the Telecare Services Associates, is “the remote exchange of data between a patient at home and their clinician(s) to assist in diagnosis and monitoring typically used to support patients with Long Term Conditions.” Using telephone lines or wireless technologies, telehealth facilitates the monitoring of patients by transmitting key health metrics such as blood pressure to health professionals and M2M (Machine to Machine) technologies monitor these levels, providing real-time notification of potential issues.

This has been used for the management of diseases including Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), Chronic Heart Failure (CHF), Diabetes and Epilepsy and is growing in attractiveness. Large mobile vendors are developing services to fill the need of this trend, as well as smaller providers. Doctor on Demand, a telehealth video service for example, was recently announced to have closed a $50-million round of Series B financing deals. 

Such growth has seen a rise in the number of mid-senior level telehealth and mHealth (Mobile Health) roles within respiratory, cardiology and diabetes departments, and we expect this sector to continue to grow as telehealth develops.

Telehealth has been supported by and grown alongside advances in wearable healthcare devices and M2M technologies. The connected health M2M market is due to grow at a CAGR of 33.08% between now and 2019, providing healthcare services that also function as part of an IT ecosystem.

Some innovative examples of wearable healthcare are below:

  • The HealthPatch MD - an intelligent biosensor build to track heart rate, breathing, temperature, steps, and even body position via ECG electrodes and a 3 axis accelerometer. Connected via Bluetooth, this devise transmits real-time data to healthcare facilities and has received FDA clearance in the US as well as regulatory approval throughout Europe.
  • The continuous glucose monitor (CGM) – a devise used by diabetes patients to monitor glucose levels via a disposable sensor placed under the skin.
  • New crystals technology – A ground breaking and innovative crystal technology developed by Northwestern University and the University of Illinois, that is applied to the skin as an invisible layer to monitor things such as cardiovascular and skin health.
  • The Valedo – an app-connected devise that aims to reduce lower back pain. The devise connects to a person’s back, monitors posture via smart sensors, and encourages better posture via gamification and a companion app. 
  • The ADAMM – an Automated Device For Asthma Monitoring And Management currently under development, this is a wearable devise designed to track asthma symptoms via a companion app.

Finally it remains to say that disruptive technologies are not only being utilised within healthcare monitoring and implementation, but have also been used to improve testing within Life Sciences. For example Cosmetics Company L’Oreal plans to use technology to 3D-print human skin for testing purposes. A “body-on-a-chip” is also being developed to speed up the testing of drugs and remove the need to test animals.

Such technological advances are fuelling the need for specialist talent and creating new and exciting opportunities and needless to say the trends in this article only scape the surface of what is possible.

 

We have a number of recruitment specialists that can provide further details on the changing landscape of jobs and opportunities, and how technology is influencing these sectors. Contact us today for further insights and information on career opportunities. 

 

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