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    Better health through the quantified self

    Better health through the quantified self
    Henk Grootveld - Head of Trends Investing

    Henk Grootveld

    Head of Trends Investing

     

     

    Need to know

    • Quantified self-data has the potential to drastically improve the outcome of treatments and medications
    • Digital devices are also helping the proliferation of the first fully digital and personalised treatments
    • Finland now includes some quantified self-data in the personal healthcare records, and we expect more countries and healthcare plans to follow

     

    Better and earlier diagnostics are key to moving from curing disease to preventing sickness entirely. Smart devices and fitness trackers stand to play a significant role in this advancement.

    Smart devices that track and monitor vital signs and activities have attained enormous popularity in recent years. The quantified self movement has driven the growth of this market to the point where Apple1 sold more watches than the entire Swiss watch industry in 2019. In 2020, 200 million smart watches were sold and it is estimated that this number stands to double by 2026.

     

    Improving outcomes

    Now that these devices have become firmly established in mainstream culture, we can anticipate their effectiveness in improving diagnostics, personal medication and digital treatment. Quantified self-data has the potential to drastically improve the outcome of treatments and medications. Take for instance chemo treatments for cancer. Some of these treatments are only effective for around 60% of patients. If more data and better diagnostics were available, it would be possible to distinguish ahead of time the 40% of patients for whom treatment would be ineffective.  

    Digital devices are also helping the proliferation of the first fully digital and personalised treatments. Next to a digital fitness coach or app-based personalised running schemes, it is also possible to provide digital therapy to help children dealing with ADHD or mental therapies against all kind of anxieties.

     

    Data and medical records

    Going forward, the inclusion of quantified self-data into medical records could be the next step to lowering the costs of the system while improving health outcomes for the patient. Finland is one of the first countries to have included some quantified self-data in the personal healthcare records, and we expect more countries and healthcare plans to follow.

    Based on the data, better and earlier diagnostics can be developed which will be key to moving away from curing people (when most damage has been done) towards more prevention, which will bring down the overall healthcare bill in the long run. On top of that, having a virtual doctor appointment becomes easier and, above all, much more productive if this physician is able to see some live vital signs. The future success of virtual care depends on remote monitoring devices or quantified self. 

    Our Global HealthTech strategy harnesses the quantified-self trend through its focus on companies digitalising the healthcare sector to make it more efficient, connected and focused on prevention.


    To find out more about the quantified self and the investment implications, read the full paper: ‘Quantified Self: from hype to trend’
     

    Source.

    [1] Any reference to a specific company or security does not constitute a recommendation to buy, sell, hold or directly invest in the company or securities. It should not be assumed that the recommendations made in the future will be profitable or will equal the performance of the securities discussed in this document.

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