I. Setting the stage
Healthcare is a rare bird. We can neither disregard it nor make it cheap, simple, and safe (Fernandez et al., 2012). In fact, we globally spend more than 10% of the GDP in healthcare and about $1,000 per capita every year (World Health Organization, 2018). But this is not the whole story: approved drugs halve every 9 years (i.e., Eroom’s Law); population aged over 60 years is expected to grow by 56% over the next ten years (TM Capital, 2017); the workforce to meet patients demand is declining; and the need of having a higher quality of care and more control and transparency over individual healthcare are affecting the sector.
All this is creating the perfect storm for biohacking to emerge as a new healthcare paradigm that could finally provide a solution to the so-called healthcare “iron triangle” (access, affordability, effectiveness).
But there is another major trend that is suggesting that do-it-yourself medicine may be a substantial part of the future healthcare landscape. The convergence of artificial intelligence, cheap IoT devices, and blockchain is already improving both preventive and post-treatment healthcare in such a way that patients are not required to leave their houses to look for treatments. It is not hard to then imagine our homes as the hospitals of the future.
So biohacking, which today includes self-experimentation medicine, becoming a “grinder” (augmenting the body with DIY cybernetic devices), and measuring various biomarkers and behaviors toward a quest for personal optimization, may in fact represent the medicine of the future.
II. The opportunity and market dynamics
It is easier to estimate the size of an opportunity when trying to win or expanding a market, but creating new ones is way more…