New innovation is the lifeblood for improving medicine and medical care in the U.S. and the rest of the world. The latest top healthcare technology trends even hold the potential to make some investors wealthy over the long run. Here are five top trends along with some of the best stocks in which to invest:
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Could investing in IBM, Qualcomm, Teladoc, Illumina, andAthenahealthreally make you rich? Quite possibly. Here's why.
Artificial intelligence (AI) basically involves computers performing tasks that normally require human intelligence. In healthcare, the dream for AI is to accurately diagnose medical conditions and determine the optimal approaches to help patients. IBM stands at the forefront of doing just that.
Big Blue's Watson technology is already being used to interpret genetic testing results, assist researchers in drug discovery, and provide clinicians with evidence-based treatment options for cancer patients. With many projecting physician shortages, it's not hard to envision a future where IBM's technology could be used to augment healthcare professionals such as nurse practitioners to perform some of the functions currently reserved only for doctors.
IBM stock has taken a beating lately, with the company reporting disappointing financial results. However, that's also resulted in an attractive valuation. If Watson achieves its potential, IBM could possibly once again become a big winner.
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Internet of Things
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a phrase used to describe the connection of any device to the internet. This concept has the potential to revolutionize healthcare by lowering costs, improving care, and possibly saving lives.
One major player in applying IoT to healthcare is Qualcomm. The company's 2net platform enables near real-time integration of a broad range of medical devices to a secure back-end system on the internet. Qualcomm also markets the Capsule platform, which provided medical device integration for hospitals.
Qualcomm has racked up huge gains over the years, but the stock is down so far in 2017. The company's pending acquisition of NXP Semiconductors should solidify its position in the overall IoT market and drive shares higher over the long run.
Telehealth, also sometimes called telemedicine, is the providing of healthcare remotely using telecommunications technology. Although 78% of Americans welcome the idea of using telehealth, only 21% have actually done so.
That presents a big opportunity for Teladoc. The company provides remote on-demand healthcare services to patients. Teladoc has already achieved significant success, with a 75% market share that's three times larger than its closest rival.
Teladoc isn't profitable yet. However, with Wall Street analysts projecting average annual growth of 20% over the next five years, the stock should be a great long-term pick.
Image source: Getty Images.
Personalized medicine, also known as precision medicine, is the use of information about an individual's genetic profile and environment to prevent, diagnose, and treat disease. The approach has already led to the development of several important drugs, and more are on the way.
No company has been more instrumental in the ascent of personalized medicine than Illumina. The company is a pioneer in genomic sequencing. Illumina's technology has helped reduce the cost of sequencing by a factor of more than 10,000. Illumina continues to innovate, recently launching its NovaSeq systems, which the company believes make genomic sequencing (and therefore personalized medicine research) more affordable than ever before.
Illumina stock has soared so far in 2017. Although its shares are pricey (trading at 40 times expected earnings), Illumina should continue to be a winner in the coming years.
Cloud services refers to applications that are available to users on demand through the internet. There has been significant growth in the use of cloud services in healthcare in recent years. Even more growth is projected for the future.
Athenahealth is one of the leading providers of cloud-based healthcare applications. The company's products include clinical management, revenue collection, patient engagement, and population health management solutions. Athenahealth's network serves over 99,000 providers across the U.S., including physicians and hospitals.
Like Illumina's, Athenahealth stock commands a premium valuation, with shares trading at 54 times expected earnings. However, the company should grow earnings by an impressive average annual rate of 20% over the next few years.
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Keith Speights has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Illumina and Qualcomm. The Motley Fool recommends athenahealth and NXP Semiconductors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.