| Innovation Center

Innovators Club review: What will the future of healthcare look like?

What if doctors could use digital technologies to assess patient condition remotely? The latest Innovators’ Club at the Merck Innovation Center in Darmstadt explored how healthcare services will be delivered in our increasingly digital future.

Keynote presenter and Digital Business Innovation expert Jan Horvat from Zühlke Engineering GmbH kicked off the latest Innovators’ Club event by explaining how healthcare in the future will become mobile and virtual. In particular, he talked about how digital technologies will enable data driven diagnosis, 24/7 therapy monitoring and predictive health management to be conducted remotely. He also highlighted three of the most exciting innovations in the field:

  • HoloDoc: How “Mixed Reality” and other digital solutions will make healthcare much more convenient for patients.
  • Bio Sensors: The enabling technology for digital diagnosis and health management.
  • Digital Medical Twins: How the combination of bio-sensors and machine learning will enable new healthcare insights and totally new models of medical treatment. 

Jan was keen to point out that these digital technologies and the services around them are no longer science fiction – “they are available and ready to scale”. As a result, patients will soon be empowered to choose how and where they are treated, and with whom they are willing to entrust their sensitive medical data. Not only that, healthcare will become more predictive and personalized, thanks to remote monitoring of patient condition at all times. This will improve patient health, while also reducing the inconvenience or difficulty of onsite consultations in many circumstances.

Importantly, these key technology areas are closely aligned with work taking place at the Innovation Center, which focuses on specific Innovation Fields that have significant new business potential for Merck. These fields are nascent areas in science, technology or business which are intrinsically attractive to Merck, based on market potential, market maturity and competitive environment as well as existing business and technology capabilities

One of these Innovation Fields is Bio-Sensing & Interfaces, led by Zeeshan Mahmood. At the event, Zeeshan talked about the types of sensors enabling the healthcare solutions of the future and explained why this Innovation Field is so important for Merck. “We have 3 unique sectors at Merck that can help solve the challenges that face precision, predictive and value-based care. From material solutions in how we interact with machines to pharmacology expertise in our therapeutic areas and biological recognition  elements portfolio we can truly think of groundbreaking  targeted therapies.

  • Speaking about the future of bio-sensing, Zeeshan explained that Merck’s research focuses on novel concepts around biological sensing of different health parameters that is beyond  the typical heartrate, blood pressure and temperature measurements. We are looking at sensing of biological biochemical analytes that have clinical meaning like electrolytes, proteins, hormones, or vitamins but also digital biomarkers such as voice and visual sensing technologies.

These concepts will enable Merck to support a more targeted and precise approach to patient care and truly help enable value based care. In particular, Zeeshan and his team are working on the integration of bio-sensing with digital data analytics and the appropriate therapies that should be applied based on the results. 

Finally, participants had the opportunity to experience for themselves how it feels to visit a doctor virtually via the amazing Holo-Doc application, and see how the creation of patient digital twins based on sensor data will enable the remote diagnosis of illnesses.  

If you weren’t able to attend this fascinating event, don’t worry. You can watch a recording here.

Still curious? Save the date for our next Innovators’ Club on the 24th of January with Arndt Pechstein. The topic: “Radical Transformation: From Caveman to Agile in less than a decade”. Registration will open soon!