In the European Union, doctors in Sweden, Denmark, and Estonia zip electronic prescriptions to patients or pharmacists directly. Austrian physicians, nurses and clinicians are able to pull up patient records through a national electronic health record system.
A 2018 research study from McKinsey and Co., the global IT consulting firm, and the German government, found that digitization would have resulted in $39 billion in savings, or 12%, during the calendar year.
Bain & Co., a major management consulting firm, is trying to bring disruptive digital technologies to health insurance companies to save billions.
The Massachusetts adviser wants insurers to build infrastructure for electronic medical records, then process that data using machine learning and advanced data analytics. Analysts also recommend digital ledger systems to protect patient data, and Internet of Things and virtual reality strategies to reduce costs.
This vision is already playing out in Japan. Tatsuya Takahashi formed Z-Works in 2015, a patient monitoring software company. After securing start-up capital from Canon, the company partnered with Sompo Holdings, the third-largest insurance company in the country.
At a Sompo-owned nursing home outside Tokyo, patients and their rooms have been equipped with sophisticated Doppler sensors to monitor breathing and heartbeat. Other devices monitor falls and even incontinence. Z-Works software sends all of this data to nursing stations and caregivers wearing wireless earbuds.
At a rehabilitation center, stroke patients wearing VR goggles grab at imaginary superimposed monsters, and catch balls. Gamification makes exercise fun for the patients. It also negates the need for individual therapists.
PTC Inc. is a global computer software company. Founded in 1985, the Boston company became an IoT pioneer. Although the company is renowned for its industrial IoT applications, the tides have begun to shift. There is real progress being made in healthcare.
Additionally, the Medicare program in the United States will begin paying doctors on the basis of quality of care, rather than visits. This will incentivize healthcare organizations to invest in systems of sensors, patients, caregivers and software. The result should be more sensors and more virtual care.
PTC shares trade at 33x forward earnings, for a market capitalization of $10.2 billion. Its software is considered best in class. Sales grew 6.8% in fiscal 2018 to $1.2 billion.
Most economies are struggling with rising healthcare costs. PTC has a solution. Consider buying the shares into weakness.