The media (including us) have all gone nuts about AI and all manner of digital health apps. But the real tech opportunities in health care are in boring stuff.
There are dozens of healthcare tech companies which have raised over $50m and yet whose revenue piddles along at $1-2m a year. The hope, of course, is that as Google and Amazon before them, they will one day generate huge revenues.
The problem with this is that health tech is essentially a B2B or, worse still, is trying to sell to the government or public payors. The top tech stocks – Facebook, Amazon, Google – grew on the back of rapid consumer adoption. That will not happen in health care.
So what are the tech companies with real potential?
In the UK, NHS hospitals each employ on average 300 staff to handle appointments. They spend up to £1m a year on second-class stamps. But it is not all bad! The NHS is entering the 20th century – the Telegraph claims that it is the world’s largest buyer of the latest fax technology.
Meanwhile, UK care homes, almost entirely in the private sector, still run on paper.
In Germany and France pharmacies still send paper scrips by the truckload to insurers.
So, for investors, the real tech stars are likely to be outfits that automate these headaches. Companies like Person Centred Software and Nourish Care in the UK that provide electronic records for care homes. It is interesting to note that these national players are starting to move into Europe, the US and Australia. Why some of these people are actually making a profit!We would welcome your thoughts on this story. Email your views to Max Hotopf or call 0207 183 3779.