Bob Dylan sang the song, The Times They Are A-Changin’, which was a ballad about how everything is changing. And the times have changed quite a bit since he recorded that song. Back in the 1960’s when he first sang the song, people were just getting accustomed to TV and to the fact that the world was big and we weren’t the only people in it. Now, 50 years later globalization has caused our world to change again.
It’s a demographic sweet spot of enormous potential. With the developed world (Japan, Europe and to a lesser extent, the US) getting older, and emerging markets getting both bigger and richer, the market for things that make consumers healthier is set to expand. And it is already a very big deal (see chart).
The adoption of IT in healthcare systems has, in general, followed the same pattern as other industries. In the 1950s, when institutions began using new technology to automate highly standardized and repetitive tasks such as accounting and payroll, healthcare payors and other industry stakeholders also began using IT to process vast amounts of statistical data.
The science of genomics is at the beginning of a new era of innovation. The rapidly declining cost of gene sequencing is making huge amounts of genetic data available, and the full power of information technology is being applied to vastly speed up the process of analyzing these data to discover how genes determine traits or mutate to cause disease.