Global Innovation Index 2019 Released, Focus On The Future of Medical Innovation

The Global Innovation Index 2019 was released today with an overarching theme of “Creating Healthy Lives – The Future of Medical Innovation.”

In addition to ranking countries according to their innovation performance on 80 indicators, this year’s Index also analyses the medical innovation landscape, and how emerging innovations, such as artificial intelligence (AI), genomics, and mobile health applications, will impact delivery of healthcare in developed and developing countries.

The Global Innovation Index 2019 found that overall, “Switzerland is the world’s most-innovative country followed by Sweden, the United States of America (U.S.), the Netherlands and the United Kingdom (U.K.),” according to a World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) press release.

The Index also identifies India, South Africa, Chile, Israel and Singapore as regional leaders, and found China, Viet Nam and Rwanda topping their income groups.

In the overview section, which introduces this year’s theme of “The Future of Medical Innovation,” the Index poses key questions the edition aims to address:

  • “What is the potential impact of medical innovation on society and economic growth, and what obstacles must be overcome to reach that potential?
  • How is the global landscape for research and development (R&D) and medical innovation changing?
  • What health challenges do future innovations need to address and what types of breakthroughs are on the horizon?
  • What are the main opportunities and obstacles to future medical innovation and what role might new policies play?”

From its analysis, five key messages emerge:

  1. “High quality and affordable healthcare for all is important for sustainable economic growth and the overall quality of life of citizens. While significant progress has been achieved across many dimensions over the last decades, significant gaps in access to quality healthcare for large parts of the global population remain.
  2. Medical innovations are critical for closing the gaps in global healthcare provision. These innovations are happening across multiple dimensions, including core sciences, drug development, care delivery, and organizational and business models. In particular, medical technology related innovations are blossoming, with medical technology patents more numerous and growing at a faster path than pharmaceutical patents for the last decade. However, some challenges need to be overcome—notably, a decline in pharmaceutical R&D productivity and a prolonged process for deploying health innovations due to complex health ecosystems.
  3. The convergence of digital and biological technologies is disrupting healthcare and increasing the importance of data integration and management across the healthcare ecosystem. New digital health strategies need to focus on creating data infrastructure and processes for efficient and safe data collection, management, and sharing.
  4. Emerging markets have a unique opportunity to leverage medical innovations and invest in new healthcare delivery models to close the healthcare gap with more developed markets. Caution should be taken to ensure that new health innovations, and their related costs, do not exacerbate the health gap between the rich and poor.
  5. To maximize the potential for future health innovation, it is important to encourage collaboration across key actors, increase funding from public and private sources, establish and maintain a skilled health workforce, and carefully evaluate the costs and benefits of medical innovations.”

“Innovation in the field of health is now being increasingly driven by data (Internet of Things) and artificial intelligence, in both diagnosis and prognosis. Unprecedented challenges need urgent attention in ethical, social and economic dimensions,” said Bruno Lanvin, INSEAD Executive Director for Global Indices and co-editor of the Global Innovation Index 2019, quoted in the press release.

“As the power of medical decisions moves farther away from medical professions, regulators, governments, business and civil society need to establish limits to the ways in which the holders of big data and advanced algorithms can make or influence health decisions. In the absence of swift action, innovation in health and medicine may become a significant source of inequality,” he said.

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