UPDATED BY
Rose Velazquez | Feb 29, 2024

Healthcare is a booming industry where new methods are applied to old problems. The healthtech sector is rife with innovators that use the latest tech capabilities to more quickly detect diseases, give patients access to the right care and in general make it easier for doctors to do their jobs.

Even in a developed country like the U.S., healthcare has issues — two major ones in particular: expense and accessibility. According to a Deloitte estimate, people in North America spent $3.3 trillion on healthcare in 2015 and are predicted to spend $4 trillion in 2020. But a lot of that money is wasted. In 2009, the Institute of Medicine has reported, roughly $750 billion was eaten up by “unnecessary services, excessive administrative costs, fraud, and other problems.”

The situation is also grim when it comes to healthcare access. A recent Gallup poll indicates the number of uninsured Americans rose by 3.2 million from 2016 to 2017 — meaning about 12.2 percent have no health insurance, which can sometimes be the difference between life and death.

Here are some ways healthtech companies are using new technology to improve America’s healthcare system.

Companies Making Use of Technology in Healthcare

  • Merck
  • 23andMe
  • PatientPoint
  • Jabra Hearing
  • DearDoc
  • DispatchHealth
  • Blink Health
  • Flatiron Health
  • Level Ex 

 

Patient Services

These companies are working on improving the patient experience by facilitating interactions with doctors, making it easier to get medication and steering people toward the right resources.

 

Location: New York, New York

Zocdoc offers a digital healthcare marketplace that enables users to connect with medical providers and helps practices attract new patients. As patients search the database through Zocdoc’s website or mobile app, they can see a provider’s specialty, location, reviews and appointment availability, as well as what insurance they accept.

 

Location: Fully remote

Jabra Hearing makes medical-grade over-the-counter hearing aids and enhancements that are engineered to support improved hearing for patients who are hard of hearing. Its Enhance product, a hearing enhancement earbud, uses recent hearing healthcare tech but is priced at about half the national average cost for similar products.  

 

Location: Fully remote

Rula uses technology to connect people with providers for virtual mental health appointments. It maintains a network of more than 8,000 treatment providers who represent a broad variety of specialties, such as anxiety, medication management, depression and anger management. The company works with major insurance providers like Blue Cross Blue Shield and United Healthcare to ensure its services are affordable to patients. Though specific appointment costs vary depending on insurance, Path says many patients pay $15 per appointment.

 

Location: New York, New York

Firsthand uses technology to connect with and serve individuals living with serious mental illness. For example, the company uses data science to identify the individuals in need of its medical and social support services. Firsthand also provides its team members with mobile-first tools that give them the capabilities to serve their target population on a broader scale. The company says its tech-enabled solutions have resulted in a 70 percent reach rate, allowing firsthand to make contact with individuals that other groups have been unable to engage in the past.

 

Location: New York, New York

Cedar’s technology is designed to improve the healthcare billing process for providers and payers. It offers a platform that can give patients cost estimates ahead of an appointment, provide bills that clarify any differences compared to the estimate and serve as a single place for patients to resolve their bills with their benefits provider and submit payments. The company says healthcare organizations that implement its solutions have been able to collect payments faster while also enhancing patient engagement.

 

Location: Cincinnati, Ohio

Healthtech company PatientPoint makes digital patient engagement platforms that are designed to improve communication between doctors and patients. Its products for patient acquisition, in-office visits, hospital engagement and remote care bring digital health education content to the patient experience via screens in waiting rooms, interactive anatomical models and whiteboards in exam rooms and info hubs for support staff. The platforms also enable doctors to “prescribe” reading for their patients to take home with them, and to remotely monitor patients. PatientPoint says its solutions have been deployed across 38,000 physician offices.

 

Location: Denver, Colorado

DispatchHealth is essentially an urgent care center on wheels. You can make a call, submit a request online or use the app and DispatchHealth will send over help depending on the medical service needed, including stitches and on-site blood tests. 

 

Location: New York, New York

Blink Health lets you order your prescription medication online. It has a nationwide network of 30,000 pharmacies to make sure you have access to your prescription while keeping the price low.

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Services for Doctors and Researchers

Healthtech is about more than enhanced patient care; it’s also about giving doctors and researchers the tools they need to excel. From big picture projects (like trying to find a cure for cancer) to more detail-oriented ones (like finding new ways to train doctors), these companies are helping the people who help the patients.

 

Location: Fully remote

Arcadia specializes in data analytics for healthcare organizations. Its cloud-based data platform gives healthcare providers, healthcare payers and state and local government agencies access to insights that inform their decision making. Clients report that Arcadia’s solutions have helped them quickly deliver quality, proactive care to their patients.

 

Location: Bagsværd, Denmark

Nearly a century old, biotech and pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk is in the business of developing new treatments, technologies and solutions for severe and chronic diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease and type 1 and type 2 diabetes. The company’s work largely centers around using a range of technologies in the creation of protein- and peptide-based drug therapies.

 

Location: Evanston, Illinois

ZS is a management consultancy that serves a range of industries, but maintains a focus on healthcare. Its health plan strategy services include solutions like growth analytics for boosting Medicare Advantage plan performance, for example. The company also has expertise in areas such as launching digital health products and integrating solutions to speed up research and development processes for new therapies.

 

Location: Chicago, Illinois

Avaneer Health facilitates connections among payers, providers and other organizations across the healthcare industry. Its secure network and platform connect participants so they can exchange data and develop care-focused solutions, and then users can commercialize solutions through the Avaneer Solution Exchange, a digital marketplace that allows them to find customers on the Avaneer Network.

 

Location: New York, New York

DearDoc’s healthtech products use AI and automation to optimize the more tedious parts of running a medical practice, like handling appointments and doing deep research for diagnostics. With the high-level goal of a streamlined medical experience for both doctor and patient, the company uses tech to help doctors grow their practices, improve patient experiences and ease the burden on support staff.  

 

Location: Rahway, New Jersey

Merck, a global biopharmaceutical company, has been developing medicines and vaccines for over a century. The company pairs robotics, AI and machine learning with high-throughput screening and high-throughput experimentation to develop new drugs for patients in need. Founded in 1891 with over 70,000 employees worldwide, Merck is a giant in the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry.

 

Location: New York, New York

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center works to be at the forefront of cancer diagnosis, care, treatment and education. It is working on the next generation of cancer treatments via biomedical technology like new mRNA vaccines for pancreatic cancer that are in clinical trials and new precision treatments for prostate cancer that target structural proteins. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center has more than 500 inpatient beds and its doctors are involved in hundreds of clinical trials.

 

Location: New York, New York

Flatiron Health uses technology to advance oncology, the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of cancer. Its database of 2.2 million active patient records makes it an asset for oncology research. It also offers a suite of OncoCloud programs that oncologists can use, including Electronic Health Records (EHR) management to clinical trial data. Flatiron Health works with more than 15 of the top therapeutic oncology companies to fight cancer. It also recently renewed its partnership with the FDA's Information Exchange and Data Transformation (INFORMED) program to provide cancer research.

 

Location: Chicago, Illinois

If training to become a doctor involved playing video games, would there be more doctors in the world? Level Ex taps both surgeons and game developers to create realistic video games that aim to imitate actual medical procedures. There’s Airway Ex for airway specialists, Gastro Ex for gastroenterologists and Pulm Ex for pulmonologists.

 

Personal Genetic Testing

Thanks to advancements in technology and biology, researchers and physicians are now able to link certain genes to various human traits and conditions. With the onset of consumer DNA kits and personal genetic testing, that information is becoming readily available to everyday folks. Want to know if you’re at risk for a degenerative disease like Alzheimer's, or if you’ll pass a certain trait to your children? The answer may lie in your DNA.

 

Location: Mountain View, California

23andMe makes consumer DNA kits that people can use for home genome sequencing. Spit into a tube, mail it off and 23andMe will send you information based in DNA analysis. Learn things like where your ancestors came from, whether you’re a carrier of certain heritable diseases or even if you’re likely to go bald. More than 5 million people have used 23andMe, with 80 percent opting-in to participate in research. 

 

Location: San Francisco, California

Modern Fertility makes finger prick-based fertility tests that women can take at home instead of at a doctor’s office. The tests measure hormone levels, ovarian reserve and a woman's personal Fertility Measurement Index (FEMI) number. 

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Detection and Diagnostics

The sooner you detect a disease, the sooner you can treat it. New technology gives doctors a clearer picture of patients’ issues, which prompts more accurate diagnoses. Just as German physicist Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen's X-rays revolutionized treatment of broken bones, companies are using technology to pinpoint health problems that are far less visible.

 

Location: Menlo Park, California

GRAIL builds technology for early cancer detection. Its Galleri test is a multi-cancer early detection, or MCED, test that analyzes patients’ blood for the presence of a signal that’s indicative of more than four dozen types of cancer. Used in conjunction with other routine screening processes, GRAIL’s technology is meant to increase the likelihood of diagnosing cancer in the early stages and improve survival rates.

 

Location: South San Francisco, California

Verily uses machine learning to screen for diabetic retinopathy (DR) and diabetic macular edema (DME), preventable diseases that can cause blindness if allowed to progress. Other Verily projects include the development of a smart contact lens that can detect glucose levels in diabetics (that one's currently on hold) and the use of sterile male mosquitoes to stop the spread of diseases like Zika and dengue.

 

Location: Beverly, Massachusetts

LexaGene uses genetic analyzers (which sequence DNA) to detect pathogens like viruses or bacteria. The company's LX6 genetic analyzer simultaneously detects up to 22 different pathogens (like Influenza and MRSA), then produces data that shows which pathogens were detected, their quantity and whether they have drug-resistant genes. The whole process takes about an hour. In 2019 Lexagene formed a Scientific Advisory Board to determine the ways LexaGene's machines can be used in food safety, veterinary diagnostics and biodefense markets.

 

Location: Boston, Massachusetts

Pathologists study human samples for signs of disease. But spotting evidence disease isn’t always a black-and-white process. PathAI uses artificial intelligence to more accurately spot potential issues, making it easier for pathologists to diagnose diseases. Working with partners like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the company aids researchers with the development of drugs that can benefit regions in need around the world.

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