Frontera Group: We speak patient


It’s January – so what does 2018 have in store for us in healthcare? Here are two topics that piqued our interest:

Artificial intelligence

AI needs no introduction – and its opportunities in healthcare are enormous. In the upcoming year, AI will continue to gain ground and really start becoming integrated in healthcare organisations, transforming care and the patient experience in the process.

AI has already shown value in diagnostics, from detecting risks and diagnosing diseases (through computational pathology) as accurately as medical specialists (and, in the future, more), to enabling early detection and intervention (eg by identifying brain lesions in Alzheimer’s patients that can’t be spotted with traditional methodologies). Beyond diagnosis, AI can help physicians design personalised treatment plans, as well as optimise ones (eg by highlighting gaps or mistakes).

But wait, there’s more; predictive modelling using AI algorithms has already shown potential in predicting flu outbreaks and tracking syphilis – and its value here is starting to be recognised beyond academia.

AI is changing the way healthcare is delivered in real-time, and it is inevitable that this will have an effect on the patient–doctor relationship. The landscape has already started changing, with companies like Babylon redefining how we access healthcare. AI will offer further opportunities for virtual/remote care, empowering patients to self-manage – and improving adherence in the process.

However, it does come with some regulatory challenges: eg  what happens to patient data? According to Digital Health Accelerator, digital health regulation will start devolving to a local level, including our very own doorstep in London. Stay tuned.

Precision medicine

2018 is a milestone year for precision medicine and the development of highly targeted drugs.

New avenues were opened in 2017 with the FDA approval of CAR-T, an innovative approach that works by reprogramming immune cells known as T cells to attack cancer. The field will continue to boom and revolutionalise oncology.

The first drug based on RNA interference (RNAi) technology, which works by preventing the expression of proteins in cells,  is soon to be tested. If successful, it could drive the proliferation of a new, RNAi-based class of medicines.

Likewise, 2018 might be the year of the first therapies based on CRISPR, which very precisely makes changes to the genetic code, as the first clinical trials are underway.

by Nusa Faric