MedTech. HealthTech. SpaceTech. EdTech. FinTech.
It seems that everywhere you look, there’s a sector that has been clipped and merged with ‘Tech’. And that’s no bad thing! It’s technology’s world that we’re living in, and technology for good is injecting itself into more wards of our existence than ever before.
But when it comes to MedTech and HealthTech, what’s the difference? What separates these two areas of medical and health technology that are paving the way to a new realm of patient care? Read on to better understand the specialities of both technologies and explore how they’re impacting your health day-in, day-out!
What is MedTech?
MedTech (medical technology) refers to the products, services, and solutions that exist to improve and save patient’s lives. It’s as simple as a plaster to cover a graze on a child’s knee. As intricate as a stent to clear a blocked blood vessel. As complex as a digital device or diagnostics tool.
Monitoring devices, like digital health tools, are type of MedTech that can help medical professionals to better understand a condition and treat it with either more precision or speed (or both). Diagnostics refers to the technologies that determine what a condition is. That could be in the form of a rapid antigen test for Covid-19 or a digital biomarker which diagnoses and helps to manage epilepsy.
What is HealthTech?
HealthTech is health technology that has been developed to improve aspects of healthcare across the entire system, from hospital wards to pharmacy drop-in clinics. The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines HealthTech as the ‘application of organised knowledge and skills in the form of devices, medicines, vaccines, procedures, and systems developed to solve a health problem and improve quality of lives’.
HealthTech focuses on preventing poor health in the first place, but then works to enhance the delivery of care a person receives if they do end up as a patient. The Fitbits many of us have on our wrists are a piece of wearable health technology. Other examples of HealthTech include:
- Blood pressure monitors at your local GP surgery
- ECG (echocardiogram) machines in your local A&E
Why is HealthTech important?
Global healthcare networks are integrating tools into every point of the journey to improve the quality of care patients receive. HealthTech is more about streamlining care infrastructure health systems to ensure it’s fit for purpose now – and the future.
World Population Prospects data indicates that by 2050, one in six people worldwide will be over the age of 65, compared to one in 11 in 2019.
From an ageing population that’s increasing globally, to a growing range of lifestyle habits which affect our health, to the threat of future pandemics, it’s essential that healthcare providers around the globe are equipped with HealthTech that supports them to run as effectively and efficiently as possible to counteract risks to our health.
How do MedTech and HealthTech work together?
If we take the basic example of an A&E waiting room, we can look at the individual roles that MedTech and HealthTech play. Plus, how they work together to better a patient’s care and outcomes.
‘Fran’, our patient, heads to A&E with symptoms of hypoglycaemia (colloquially known as a ‘hypo’), meaning her blood glucose level is too low. Fran is wearing a digital glucose monitor (a medical device that falls under MedTech) which has already made her aware that her blood sugar levels have dipped and she needs professional care. When Fran arrives at the A&E department, she’s triaged, which is where HealthTech comes into play.
From real-time, digital solutions which monitor bed occupancy to average time to wait to be seen, HealthTech is in play across the A&E department and beyond to make treatment as effective as possible. In this case, Fran could be a beneficiary of a HealthTech application that uses predictive analytics to inform an appropriate staffing level for the emergency department on that particular day.
Personalising healthcare with MedTech and HealthTech
Both MedTech and HealthTech companies are investing in developing technologies for more personalised patient pathways. It’s a global trend that’s only going to become more routine as our understanding of medical conditions does too.
From cause and prevention, to symptoms, treatment, and cure, technologies are becoming more tailored to the individual patient. And it’s becoming more affordable to do so, too. By removing the one-size-fits-all approach, we’re able to make treatments that are more targeted to that patient. That’s both their current level of health and medical history. As such, treatment becomes more effective, and resources can be better used throughout across healthcare’s infrastructure.
MedTech VS HealthTech
So, MedTech and HealthTech are two separate sectors in their own rights. But it’s not about waging a war of MedTech VS HealthTech. It’s recognising what they both share at their core. A drive to make improvements to patient care for a healthier world.
The new realm of patient care is upon us, and our medical and health technology companies are the ones paving the way.
Learn more about the innovations and applications of medical and health technologies in our investigative whitepaper.
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