Posted on 26/09/2018 by Eliza Mould
Author: James Warren | European Managing Director
While we’re still some time away from a world of robot doctors, technology is most certainly working its way into healthcare settings all around the world. Wearables, for example, have extended from fitness trackers to heart rate monitors transmitting real time data; artificial intelligence is being used to diagnose conditions by picking up on signs that are commonly overlooked by doctors; virtual reality is allowing surgeons to apply theoretical knowledge to practical situations. It’s changing life sciences for the better.
Healthtech is transforming the life sciences environment in three distinct ways. Firstly, we can see the potential for improvement within healthcare settings themselves. Automation can significantly minimise human error, speed up diagnostics, better assess risk, and create a stronger home/hospital link to enable patients to be discharged earlier, and recover within a more comfortable and familiar environment.
Secondly, and leading on from the above, healthtech is giving patients greater control over their own care. Devices that remind patients to take essential medications; devices that provide real time monitoring of glucose levels; devices that pick up on body signals that could suggest risk… these are all helping patients to understand more about their conditions, and about the best way to manage health.
However, from a recruitment point of view, it is perhaps the third way that is of greatest interest.
A Healthtech Jobs Boom?
The scope for new job opportunities in the healthtech sector is significant, and holds the potential to transform the job market in much the same way as fintech did, as the economy recovered from the financial crisis. In the UK alone, healthtech employment has grown by 4.4% in the last year, according to a Government report, and this is expected to rise rapidly in line with growing adoption rates of new technologies. Amongst a wide range of anticipated digital healthcare jobs, we can expect new Android and iOS developer positions to create health-related apps, software and machine learning engineers, testers (or ‘digital health reviewers’), and, of course, more opportunities in IT support.
These opportunities won’t only exist within healthcare settings themselves, but also within the numerous healthtech startups that are being registered. Life sciences ‘clusters’ are already in the process of being developed in much the same way as traditional tech clusters, such as Silicon Valley and Tech City.
Alongside these new job opportunities, it’s also expected that candidates will benefit from better access to new skills development. This is especially true for technologies that are only just emerging, such as the blockchain. Currently considered to be something of a niche skill when compared to longer standing skills like Java, for example, blockchain skills will be essential for implementing new, secure systems that will enable the safe transfer of confidential records between different hospitals, surgeries, and clinics.
Ultimately, while it is clear that healthtech is disrupting life sciences for the better, the actual changes that technological advancement will bring to the industry are something that we simply cannot predict. The possibilities are huge and endless, sparking an exciting time for those with in-demand skills.