Science, business and technology – all are seemingly distinct topics however the future of healthcare depends on the alliance of all three.
Here at Hemtecks, I have written about the combination of science and business in the past and how this unlikely union is actual beneficial when it comes to healthcare-centered decisions at the community and individual patient levels. Business is the supporting crux to science which allows it be manifested into real-world applications…however the third variable of technology is now increasingly becoming added to the mix.
Let’s start with a statistic. We all know that Canada’s population is aging, alongside other key regions of the world including Europe and Oceania – but do you know by how much? Statistics Canada revealed in September that Canada had people of 65 years and older exceed the number of children aged 0 to 14 years for the first time ever. This means that our country will continue to age, placing strains on important healthcare resources. How do we fix this and more importantly, how is the fusion of science, business and technology going to help tackle this issue?
The DeGroote School of Business recently published an excellent article titled “Innovate or decline: how Canada’s healthcare sytem needs to change”. It’s exactly what aligns with my argument that the marriage of science, business and technology is the future.
Science is the empirical database which provides us answers to why diseases occur, what the mechanical issues are, and how we can fix them. It’s the map that guides everyday decisions on healthcare-related activities and scientific research is the core database that provides new information and cost-cutting techniques that can reduce the prevalence of diseases in populations.
Business is the backbone of almost everything in the world which involves money, and it is as important in the realm of healthcare. Healthcare essentially is a business. It may seem off-putting to some to view it as a transaction because as humans, we value the nature of reciprocal interactions involving how we feel, but big decisions such as whether or not a community in Northern Ontario receives mental health care is mainly about the economic cost evaluations. If there is a demand, there will be a supply.
It’s no surprise that technology is our future. With recent initiatives like 23andMe and new advances in diabetic blood testing, cardiac stents and much more, it is easy to see that technology will ultimate shape the future of healthcare. Technology is becoming more important with new apps like “S Health” through which any individual can keep track of their health.
When you put the three together, three things happen: 1. you increase efficiencies in delivering healthcare, 2. you cut costs and 3. you improve the quality of life for all patients.
Essentially, science drives the innovations and allows for more information to be provided about the human body, diseases, and materials and procedures needed to save lives. Technology is a product of science – it takes the information out there, utilizes engineering, biomedicine, IT and the likes to produce the necessary tools to increase efficiencies and improve patient care. Business is then the binding mould of the all three – it’s all about taking the best of science and technology to deliver the best possible healthcare. It helps cut costs, reduce waiting times, increase access to care and improve overall wellbeing.
So when it comes to the question of an aging population – how can we utilize this alliance? Well, for science, it will mean coming up with better diagnostic procedures for increasingly prevalent diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. It will also mean creating more robust drugs, medicines and plans of care to prevent and treat diseases. For technology, it will mean continuing to improve wait-time systems, developing new medical diagnostic and treatment tools and maybe even creating new apps that aid the aging population. For business, it will mean to seek out EBM, best possible treatments and understand how to handle the strain based on the number of available resources as well as increasingly tight budgets. Business will also require organizations to seek out the best leaders and perhaps create teams of experts to deal with such issues.
It is not easy to say how exactly Canada and other world countries will be able to tackle the issue of an aging population, but one thing is for certain. We will need scientists, business leaders, engineers, UI experts, consultants, physicians – all coming together to understand the complexities of the situation and come up with solutions. The alliance of the three fields is what is ultimately required to best solve modern-day healthcare issues.
Leena is a current undergraduate student in her final year of the Honours Life Sciences (BSc .) program at McMaster University. Her experience in taking a minor in Business has broadened her interests in the cross-sectional fields of science, business and health studies. When she is not busily writing, she assists students in branding themselves for success through the use of McMaster’s Learning Portfolio.