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Digital health innovations support biohacking to deliver balance and wellbeing, expand health care options, and improve outcomes

Biohacking, also known as human augmentation or human enhancement, is a way to do-it-yourself when it comes to your personal biology, with an aim to improving performance, health, and wellbeing through strategic interventions focused on prevention.

The boomer generation is aging and overloading the United States healthcare system with a growing population of citizens who are living longer with nagging, chronic conditions that persistently impact their quality of life and hasten mortality. As the nation stares down the perilous challenge of managing healthcare for an aging population, it is the perfect time to look closer at what the next generation can do to use new insights, techniques, and technology to ensure they achieve a better quality of life outcomes.

While there are many advances in science, medicine, and technology to find cures and treatments for some of the most pernicious and challenging conditions that plague our modern lives, it is biohacking that offers us the wisdom, and a feedback loop, to unleash our potential to prevent, and at minimum better manage chronic diseases.

Prevention strategies for many conditions—which have the potential to preempt the need for medical intervention—are often unavailable in traditional health care settings. As a society, we’ve been far too focused on treatments and cures in what is often a profit-driven, one-size-fits-all model that fails to deliver the benefits of fundamental wellness that result from early attention to disease prevention. Inversely, biohacking puts these preventive insights directly in people’s hands, outside the gaslight that fuels our healthcare system, to potentially prevent many “lifestyle” diseases before they strike, postponing or even eliminating the need for medical intervention.

Let’s take a step back.

Biohacking, also known as human augmentation or human enhancement, is a way to do-it-yourself when it comes to your personal biology, with an aim to improving performance, health, and wellbeing through strategic interventions focused on prevention. Simply put, biohacking relies on sophisticated self-assessment tools and online health services to unlock a sophisticated feedback loop with your body, which can then be used to select products and programs to enhance your body systems. The ongoing process of measurement and management makes it possible to assess and manipulate our own biochemistry.

While it is a stretch to suggest that biohacking could one day render cures unnecessary, however it is certainly not out of the question that it could dramatically reduce the need for them. Some of the most harmful medical conditions have underlying lifestyle causes that can be self-managed, and diagnostic clues that could be detected before these modern life conditions become life-altering.

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Digital health, from programs that span medical information technology, to wearable devices, telemedicine, and personalized diagnostics and biologics, is the new frontier for self-care.

The wearable technology market is estimated to grow at around 18.5% between 2002 – 2028. The market was valued at around $115.8 billion in 2021 and projected to reach $380.5 billion by 2028. These new wearable devices can monitor information that can be used to modify the homeostasis of a human body, including monitoring your heart rate, blood pressure, temperature, oxygen levels, sleep intervals, and mental health. These devices capture accurate data in real time about your physical and mental performance, and alert health care practitioners with precise information that can reduce the risk of treatment error and streamline treatment.

As the Internet of Things transforms our lives with devices that monitor every element of our activity, these new tools enable us to track and adjust all aspects of our own health—our behavior, our food choices, our use of medication, the state of our mental health —and can even account for Social Determinants of Health that include disparities in housing, education and employment, and environmental conditions.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that the costs associated with caring for people with chronic disease and mental health conditions comprises 90% of the nation’s $3.8 trillion spend on healthcare. Incorporating a biohacking strategy has the potential to enhance how we measure and real-time monitor our vitals to ensure we are in harmony with what drives health and wellness, ultimately shifting our healthcare economy from sick care to prevention.

The companies designing and developing our ability to biohack will become the intersection of healthy living, healthy lifestyle, and healthcare services delivery. This growing realm of companies and services will enhance health and wellness and help us realize the potential of self-sovereign health data to take control of one’s personal wellbeing, both inside and outside of traditional health care settings.

Investors are increasingly recognizing the growth of this new economy and are investing in industries focused on health and wellbeing. Biohacking and its ability to deliver improved personalized outcomes is integral to this new awareness. In the coming years this collective focus has the potential to mitigate and/or prevent increased medical and social costs fueled by poor health, and replace them with affordable solutions that deliver flexible, easy access and customized services.

Photo: 123456, Getty Images

Bryan Hunt, CFA, General Partner, Relevance Ventures, is an experienced and awarded financial analyst with a demonstrated history of producing insightful investment recommendations across the capital structure. Skilled in Credit Analysis, Equity Research, Investment Banking, Asset Management, Corporate Valuation and Securities Analysis. Bryan has been recognized by Institutional Investor Magazine as the top food and beverage high yield analyst for seven years and a leading analyst for more than a decade. Strong educational background with honors and distinction from Vanderbilt University - Owen Graduate School of Management and the University of Alabama. Bryan holds a Charter Financial Analyst (CFA) designation.

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