Top Trends in Life Sciences in 2020

Medizintechnik

New year, new trends. At the beginning of a new decade, it‘s the perfect time to reflect and think about what’s coming up – with this in mind, we took a look at the top life sciences trends for 2020 – covering pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, medical technology, and healthcare. And we’ve summarised our findings for you here. Interestingly, most of our findings revolve around information technology developments – with top trends falling under the overarching concept of digitalization.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Artificial intelligence is a huge factor driving change across the life sciences. Whether you’re looking at drug development, drug discovery, or test procedures, as one of the fastest growing technologies in the industry, AI has a pivotal role to play. Some examples include:

  • Innovative medical equipment - such as robots assisting in the operating theatre - used in nursing care and applied in materials management and logistics
  • Intelligent software systems that can learn with each data set and make precise diagnoses within minutes - predicting the course of diseases and identifying critical developments at an early stage

We’re constantly learning about new advancements like these. Take this example - a research team recently developed a new algorithm for determining the molecular structure based on the desired chemical property of a substance. This algorithm will play an important role in the development of novel drugs and materials. AI is continuously innovating life-changing processes within the life sciences – as we move into 2020, this is only set to increase.

Telemedicine and the Internet of Things

Based on video telephony and remote monitoring tools, telemedicine enables - among other things -patient treatment and the remote monitoring of vital patient data. The Internet of Things ensures the transmission of patient values from wearables to the doctor.

This also offers great opportunities for the pharmaceutical industry. For example, training courses can be held via video conferencing, saving time for all participants. In many countries, remote treatment is already an integral part of the healthcare system.

Wearables and apps

Wearables and apps are not novelties in the classic sense, but continuous development, improved devices, and innovative gadgets are not to be ignored. The remote monitoring made possible by technology is increasing in relevance due to its transparency-creating properties. The sensors of wearables and the data of the apps send the vital signs of the user to the desired receiver.

Health care is fundamentally optimized. Advantages of this technology include more efficient and higher quality treatments, control of complex mobile wearables and individualized medication supply. A look into the future promises revolutionary innovations. The National Geographic Future Report presents an interesting example - contact lenses equipped with biosensors are under development, which can detect cancer and other diseases at an early stage. 

In the context of digitalization, the concept of cost savings is regularly encountered. Critics have often referred to this as saving on personnel and skilled workers. Our assessment: this is a clear fallacy. Especially in the areas of research & development, IT, sales, and customer service, new job profiles and activities are being created and existing job profiles are being expanded. By introducing digital solutions, employees are relieved and supported by further education and training. It’s also important to remember that alongside digital progress, there’s a lot of other factors that can have an impact on employment utilization. Unforeseeable developments or decisions for example, such as the current Medical Device Regulation (MDR), can lead to companies desperately needing experts within the space.

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