The United States, in particular, and the world, in general, faces a healthcare crisis of enormous proportions. The cost of care is already rising, but the combination of an aging population and changes to diet and lifestyle leaves a growing percentage of the population susceptible to chronic health conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes, which further drive healthcare costs. By 2020, the United States is expected to spend $4 trillion annually on healthcare —more than the GDP of all but a handful of nations.
Healthcare, then, is ripe for innovation. Much comes from academia, which lets data scientists, economists and medical professionals collaborate more freely than they might in a corporate setting, but new ideas do come from the private sector as well.