Health care is going digital and that could make it ‘almost free,’ says tech investor Tim Draper

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People wait in line to get a 15-minute rapid Covid-19 test on November 24, 2020 in Madison, Wisconsin.

Andy Manis | Getty Images News | Getty Images

The use of technology is going to make health care “almost free around the world,” according to venture capitalist Tim Draper.

“Health care is completely going digital,” he told CNBC’s Dan Murphy during a panel discussion at FinTech Abu Dhabi, which was held virtually this year.

“That’s going to create health care that is almost free around the world,” said the founder and managing partner of early-stage venture capital firm, Draper Associates.

Ibrahim Ajami of Mubadala Investment Company, one of Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth funds, said the coronavirus has led to “probably the most significant acceleration of technology … we will witness in our lives.” The role of technology in health care has changed, he said.

“Everything from clinical trials to drug discovery, to the transformation of health care systems and even telemedicine and personalized health — many of us are going to go through this entire Covid pandemic without ever seeing a doctor physically,” said Ajami, who is head of ventures at Mubadala.

Draper said artificial intelligence and data will help to create a “really good AI doctor” and design drugs that are unique to the person who is taking it.

Finally, we’re going to have a way of doing health care a lot cheaper.

Tim Draper

Draper Associates

He pointed to CloudMedx, a health tech company that Draper Associates invested in, which uses medical data to “do a better job of diagnosing your disease than the average doctor.” The firm announced last year that its clinical AI assistant outperformed human doctors on a modified version of the United States Medical Licensing Exam in 2019.

“You start combining that with other pieces of data – your genetic history, your blood test results, your Fitbit results, what airplane seat you sat on, the food you ate – all that data is going to be available, and that data — that’s going to create a really good AI doctor,” Draper told CNBC.

Technology also helps design medicine that is specific to the recipient, and robots are even being used in surgeries, he added.

In future, artificial intelligence will diagnose and develop the specific medicine required, he predicted. “That’s going to be a fabulous place because I think most of that can be done with very low costs.”

The early internet investor added that medical costs have been “crazy high” for many years. “Finally, we’re going to have a way of doing health care a lot cheaper.”

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