The AI innovation in healthcare has been overwhelming with the Global Healthcare AI Market accounting for $0.95 billion in 2017, and is expected to reach $19.25 billion by 2026. What drives this vibrant growth?
AI + Healthcare is eating the world. Over the past few years, the AI innovation in healthcare has been overwhelming, more so than in other AI-disrupted industries we have analyzed. According to Stratistics MRC, the Global Healthcare AI Market accounted for $0.95 billion in 2017 and is expected to reach $19.25 billion by 2026 growing at a CAGR of 39.7%. What drives this vibrant growth?
First of all, healthcare has a lot of data, which is a prerequisite for any AI transformation. With X-rays, MRI, ECG images piled up at the hospitals, DNA sequences analyzed in the labs and heartbeat, blood pressure, and sleep cycle patterns gathered on increasingly widespread smart devices, AI has a vast playground to show its powers. The data, however, is not without its challenges. Access to the data is highly regulated by privacy, security, and confidentiality rules. That being said, we have seen a lot of recently emerged startups successfully jumping through compliance hoops and getting the needed approvals and licenses to deliver their products to hospitals, pharma, and life-science companies or directly to end-consumers. Since 2014, at least 50 companies got FDA approval for machine learning (ML) and AI algorithms.
Secondly, the COVID-19 pandemic has given health services a digital push. From telehealth diagnostics to rapid testing to respiration monitoring, the startups received an extra motivation to speed up their product delivery amid the increased necessity and demand for certain services and products. To assist startups and companies in battling COVID-19, the US government has set up a new program to expedite the development of coronavirus-related R&D.
Thirdly, over the past decade, healthcare has become increasingly expensive, especially in the developed world. The reasons behind $4K MRI scans and $50K+ knee replacement surgery (US pricing) deserve a separate report. The point is that every sneeze in healthcare costs a lot of money, and when we talk about capital intensive processes like drug discovery or clinical trials, every tiny increment can cost hundreds of millions of dollars. Even a marginal improvement in the speed and automation of drug discovery, medical research, and clinical trials would result in tremendous savings for the entire industry. The cost reduction factor alone attracts many startups to this market, large enough for many players.
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