Health Innovations Coming In 2017

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Employers are always looking for ways to deliver care that better meets the needs of their workforce at a lower cost. While there are finite ways of doing that, medical innovation is pushing back the barrier on what is possible in the health care space, to the benefit of all.

Here are some of the most promising health innovations coming in 2017 according to the Cleveland Clinic, as described in a recent article for Fast Company:

Diabetes Drugs That Reduce Cardiovascular Disease

Generic drugs like empaglifozin and liraglutide have the potential to blunt the effect of diabetes on the body and even positively affect related conditions such as heart disease. The implications for this discovery are huge, as nearly half of U.S. adults have diabetes or pre-diabetes, according to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

Health Care Systems Talking To One Another

For anyone who has found the lack of communication between different health systems frustrating, the advent of an international standard may provide a solution. Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR), is a draft standard and application used to exchange electronic health records that could allow hospital systems to integrate billing, insurance, and appointments more seamlessly. This standard is still fairly new, introduced in 2014 by Health Level Seven International, an international nonprofit focused on healthcare interoperability. It remains to be seen whether it will be widely adopted, but it has the potential to connect health care systems more effectively.

Bio-Dissolving Arterial Stents

Stents are small mesh tubes that can be used to temporarily prop open obstructed passageways such as blood vessels. Now a new type of stent dissolves on its own once it is no longer needed. So-called “bio-dissolving stents” are still in the early stages; only one has been approved by the FDA. But more could be on the horizon.

These are just a few of the health innovations coming soon that may shape how diseases are prevented or treated, surgeries performed, and hospital systems managed. For employers, all of these innovations have the potential to improve health outcomes for employees and provide better tools to maintain a healthy and productive workforce.

For the complete article in Fast Company, click here.

This post appeared on the OneExchange Blog on December 28th, 2016 and can be viewed there by clicking here.
Willis Towers Watson is a leading global professional services company and operator of the nation's largest private Medicare exchange. Willis Towers Watson OneExchange is the industry’s only holistic private exchange solution, offering exchange options for U.S. employers and their active, part-time and retired workers.