The Mission to Elevate Health: Part One
Technology is a Key Factor Elevating Healthcare and Medicine
For the history of modern medicine, the driving force behind the vast leaps forward in medicine and healthcare has been improved education in medical schools producing brilliant physicians, surgeons, nurses, and medical researchers. But there has been a dramatic shift over the last few decades. It is now medical technology that far and away has been connected to virtually every important development elevating healthcare.
Examples of these newer leaps in technology would include new medical and surgical procedures (e.g., angioplasty, joint replacements), drugs (e.g., biologic agents), medical devices (e.g., CT scanners, PET scanners, implantable defibrillators), and new support systems (e.g., electronic medical records and transmission of information, telemedicine). There is very little in the field of medicine that does not use some type of medical technology and that has not been elevated by this most recent wave of innovation and development.
A little historical perspective
Let’s take just one major example. Heart disease and heart attack is the leading cause of death in the U.S. and a good example of how new technology and processes have elevated the treatment and prevention of a disease over time.
In the 1970s,
- cardiac care units were just being introduced,
- lidocaine was used to manage irregular heartbeat
- beta-blockers were used to lower blood pressure in the first 3 hours after a heart attack,
- “clot buster” drugs began to be widely used
- coronary artery bypass surgery became more prevalent
In the 1980s,
- blood-thinning agents were used after a heart attack to prevent reoccurrences
- beta-blocker therapy evolved from short-term therapy immediately after a heart attack to maintenance therapy, and
- angioplasty (minimally invasive surgery) was used after heart attack patients were stable
In the 1990s,
- more effective clot-inhibiting drugs were introduced
- angioplasty was used for treatment and revascularization along with stents to keep blood vessels open
- implantable cardiac defibrillators were used in certain patients with irregular heartbeats
In the 2000s,
- better tests became available to diagnose heart attack
- drug-eluting stents were introduced
- new drug strategies were developed (aspirin, ACE inhibitors beta-blockers, statins) for long-term management of heart attack
So the result of this technology revolution? From 1980-2000, the overall mortality rate from heart attack fell by almost half. That’s technology elevating by reducing! Now consider that this kind of technology revolution has been happening across all disease states, and across medicine and diagnostics. The state of our health as a nation has been elevated by technology in a thousand different ways.
What we may not fully grasp is the pace at which technology is developing right now—the rate of innovation in healthcare is accelerating even more quickly in the last 2 years than in the last 40. And while technology innovation so far has resulted in better-equipped healthcare professionals able to practice better medicine, the very nature and goal of the technology is undergoing a seismic shift.
So what’s next? Beyond better medicines and devices, what is the next frontier of technology going to achieve? Can technology elevate healthcare to the next level through improved patient involvement, interaction and engagement?
About Elevate Healthcare
Elevate is the only agency specializing in helping guide healthcare challenger brands—biopharma and medical device brands that need to overcome more powerful competitors, market limitations, and internal obstacles to achieve their full potential. Based in suburban Philadelphia, Elevate was founded in 2016 by two successful former healthcare agency presidents, Lorna Weir and Frank Powers, as a new kind of agency, purpose-built to serve clients in the current challenging and dynamic healthcare marketing landscape.