Innovations in medical technology in the next 10 years could unlock a new dawn of health investments that will make the last decade look slow in comparison, said Daniel Kraft, a Stanford University and Harvard University trained physician-scientist, inventor, entrepreneur and investor, during the keynote session at the Canadian Investment Review’s 2023 Investment Innovation Conference in November.

“It’s a real time to think differently across the healthcare technology and investment spectrum and take us from where we are sort of now, this world of very intermittent reactive sort of sick care . . . to this near future where it’s much more continuous, proactive, preventative, blending physical and virtual, leveraging [artificial intelligence] and big data — and is aligned with incentives and payment models in health-care systems.”

U.S. clinicians have already begun experimenting with implementing AI solutions to their day-to-day activities, he said, adding some hospitals are hiring prompt engineers, who specialize in structuring text that can be understood by generative AI models.

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These tools could complement personal health by providing individuals with access to personalized medical information and by nudging the user in the right direction through a smartphone. “Things are getting faster, better, cheaper and particularly when you mash them up, give us new opportunities.”

This technology will also support fields such as AI-powered radiology, antibodies design, computational biology, digital therapeutics, DNA modification, low-cost sequencing, precision medicine, robotic surgery and virtual and augmented reality — which, in turn, will create new investment pathways. As with other tech opportunities, disruption is a very important metric to discern from various investment opportunities, said Kraft.

“We practice reimbursement-based medicine . . . . It’s starting to shift. In the future, it will be more and more about paying for drugs, devices, apps [and] digital layers that work and you get paid when they work, not when they don’t. That’s a big moving target when you’re thinking about investing.”

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Precision wellness or the work of extending lifespans is a hot topic in the medical technology investment landscape, he said, noting there’s a significant amount of interest in establishing longer and healthier life averages. This trend might receive a boost from a potential shift in the way prevention is valued by patients.

Kraft asked the audience to not only consider emerging medical technologies that are currently available but to also look forward. “My challenge to all of you, as you’re thinking about health, wealth and beyond, is not just to think about where we are now, but what’s going to be possible going into the next five [to] ten years and beyond.”

Read more coverage of the 2023 Investment Innovation Conference.