GPO Plus Inc.
June 14, 2022
Healthcare professionals are in the business of saving lives. Billions of people rely on this critical industry not only for survival in the case of emergencies, but also for improvement of their daily lives and management of chronic diseases.
As recent events have shown, the need for access to quality healthcare will continue to rise. In many ways, this is good news for companies in the healthcare industry, but it also presents some unique challenges.
While much of the industry remains decidedly low tech, barely changed in centuries, small and innovative players are working in the shadows right now to solve the problems that come with increased demand.
Many of these problems of scale revolve around one central concept;
Patients need to be able to access the medical services they need. They also need access to their own health information and information about treatments to allow them to make an informed choice about their care.
Doctors and diagnosticians need access to test results and information on patient’s conditions now, not hours, days or weeks from now.
And healthcare providers and support staff need to be able to access patient records, insurance filings, and other administrative data quickly and easily.
Any delays or barriers to access can reduce the quality of care, raise costs, worse patient outcomes, and sometimes even cost people their lives.
The stakes have never been higher, and the innovative companies that solve these problems are sure to profit handsomely.
We’re still in the early days of the access revolution. It’s still too early to know who the winners and losers will be. These problems need to be solved, however, and we are aware of several promising companies who are working to do exactly that.
First we’re going to focus on something unavoidable in any business, including healthcare. This is the limiting factor in much of the medical industry, and therefore an essential target for the increased efficiency that technology brings.
Without this critical backbone, healthcare would quickly grind to a halt. From billing to medical records and documentation, these boring but essential tasks are what keeps the medical industry functioning. Companies such as Patient Access Solutions, Inc. (OTC Pink:PASO) and Augmedix, Inc. (Nasdaq: AUGX) are helping doctors and clinics take on these critical tasks, increasing their ability to do what they do best; treat patients.
Patient Access Solutions focuses primarily on the digitization of healthcare, including billing, scheduling, and digitization and access to critical patient data. Increasingly, they are also taking on the growing challenge of mental health, primarily through their newly acquired Tela Mental Health division which provides affordable, 24/7 access to counselling and support, even for people without insurance coverage.
The events of the past few years have taken a toll on many people’s mental health, from the pandemic, to extended lockdowns, economic turmoil, political tensions, and more. Access to quality, affordable mental health services is becoming more essential every day, and Patient Access Solutions is committed to revolutionizing the way those services are provided.
Returning to technology, Augmedix, a leading provider of virtual medical documentation and live clinical support, is already working with some of the top providers in the world to increase efficiency and access to data.
Their hybrid AI systems tackle the difficult and often tedious task of medical data entry and patient records, freeing up humans to focus on caring for patients. Their systems have already been shown to increase work life satisfaction for healthcare providers by over 40%, and this has direct results on the quality and effectiveness of patient care.
But as exciting as these developments are on the administrative and informational side of things, tech is also making a major impact on something we’ve become all too familiar with in the past year; medical testing and diagnosis.
By now, roadside Covid-19 testing sites have become a common site across much of the world. Whether you’ve had this test yourself or not, you’re likely aware of how it works. You’re also likely aware that it can take several days for patients to receive their results.
Still, diagnostic services and tests fulfill an essential role in a doctor’s treatment process. Whether for cancer, infectious diseases, or other, less common conditions, these tests give doctors the critical information they need to make care decisions for their patients.
Until very recently, however, these tests had one major drawback; speed. Test results sometimes take hours or even days to come back. This is fine for some routine procedures, but when someone’s health is really on the line, doctors need that information faster.
One company working to make this a reality is AXIM Biotechnologies, Inc (OTCQB: AXIM). AXIM specializes in rapid diagnostic tests for diseases including cancer, dry eye disease (DED), and most recently, Covid-19, with a test that rapidly measures levels of functional neutralizing antibodies.
Rather than diagnosing a current infection, as many other providers already do, AXIM’s test gives doctors important information on a patient’s past infection status and level of persistent protection against the disease.
This is important because not all antibodies are created equal. Competing tests measure antibody levels, but they don’t distinguish between functional neutralizing antibodies, the kind that lead to robust protection, and others that may not be as effective.
AXIM’s test is useful to confirm both protection from previous infection, and effectiveness of vaccine doses. This is important because for whatever reason, Covid-19 vaccines do not induce high levels of neutralizing antibodies in all recipients. AXIM’s test lets doctors see just how effectively a patient is protected.
Obviously the science around Covid-19 is still evolving as new discoveries are made, but it’s clear that AXIM’s diagnostic technologies will continue to provide valuable information on how the immune system responds to and protects against this disease.
The future of healthcare and the future of technology are very much intertwined. Doctors and providers continue to seek the most effective treatments and diagnostic technologies for their patients, and support professionals increasingly rely on technology to keep all that data organized and secure.
Solving these problems will give more patients access to quality, affordable medical care, and allow providers to focus on patients rather than paperwork. The companies that will solve these problems are already working today, and intelligent investors are starting to catch on.
Healthcare is the world’s largest industry, and there are no signs of that changing any time soon. Just like in the gold rush, when merchants selling picks and shovels often made more money than many of the miners, there’s a huge opportunity here for those who will provide the essential infrastructure of tomorrow’s healthcare industry.
This is a high dollar, high stakes industry, with life and death literally in the balance. There are huge opportunities to improve patient outcomes, and even bigger opportunities for profit for investors who get in early. It remains to be seen which companies will come out on top, but it would be a serious mistake for any investor to ignore what’s going on here.