Mary Meeker’s latest trends report highlights Silicon Valley’s role in the future of healthcare

Mary Meeker’s latest Internet Trends Report, out today, was full of insights on how tech is shaping our future — including now in healthcare. This was the first year Meeker included healthcare in her report and it shows just how much of a role tech is going to play in improving our lives going forward.

A few key insights from the report:

  • Wearable devices have continued to gain momentum with 25 percent of Americans now owning one (up 12 percent from 2016). The most popular of these are devices tracking our speed, followed by heart rate.
  • More of us are now downloading health apps and willing to share our health data, too.
  • Meeker’s report says a full 60 percent of us were willing to share our health data with Google in 2016.
  • Consumers also have more access to commercially available lab tests than ever before.
  • In other good news, hospitals and doctor’s offices now offer patients access to their own digital data, as well.
  • All that data has now helped medical knowledge double every 3.5 years (as opposed to doubling every 50 years like it did in 1950).
  • Larger amounts of available health data is possibly helping to accelerate clinical trials and encouraging collaboration within the scientific community, too.

Much of these insights aren’t all that surprising. Wearables are ubiquitous, there’s money to be made in disrupting old systems by making them digital and venture firms have poured a bunch of money into new health startups to do just that. According to Rock Health, financing in the space rose to $4.2 billion in 2016 and VCs are now reportedly “tripping over themselves” to hire more experts in the bio field.

There are a few drawbacks, of course. Healthcare is a highly regulated area and, unlike an app, you can’t just spit something out and tweak later. As Theranos sadly learned, you have to be right about your product the first time. But it’s pretty neat to see the health field get in-depth coverage from Meeker this year. It shows the power Silicon Valley holds in shaping the way we handle our future well-being.