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This week, Safeguard Scientifics’ life sciences team is in San Francisco attending J.P. Morgan’s 30th Annual Healthcare Conference, one of the healthcare industry’s largest annual meetings. The team is also spending time at partneringONE’s Biotech Showcase 2012 and the 5th Annual OneMedForum San Francisco 2012. Each year I look forward to attending these events; they offer an opportunity to hear what the best and brightest in healthcare have to say about the industry.

One year ago, today, I posted my thoughts about the 2011 J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference and OneMedForum and life sciences trends for the year ahead. Although the industry has since shifted and evolved, many of the predictions I shared then are applicable to what’s in store for 2012.

The state of IPOs and the impact of healthcare reform cropped up in conversations this year in San Francisco just as much as they had last year. Reimbursement is still a major issue while the “consumerization of healthcare” movement is gaining traction.

But 2012’s conferences also brought new discussions on the latest advances, technologies, and trends – topics that are driving our conversations this week.

Here are the three trends that conference attendees can’t stop talking about:

  • Healthcare IT — Technology is poised to help the healthcare industry become more efficient, and healthcare IT is the industry’s current MVP. Patient care can improve, while the cost of healthcare will decrease, due to advances in healthcare IT. The transition to electronic medical records (EMRs) brings us one step closer to this revolution, and life science companies are finding ways to efficiently manage operations through technology.
  • Personalized Medicine — This trend can empower and enable patients and physicians to improve healthcare. Customized approaches to prevention and treatment, based on a person’s genetic makeup for example, will result in better health outcomes.
  • Diagnostics — The latest advancements in diagnostics are vital to streamlining the healthcare system. Take a look at the recent news from partner company Alverix as an example. Moving testing closer to the point of patient care improves healthcare efficiency by decreasing costs and improving treatment time.

These trends are shaping the future of the rapidly evolving healthcare landscape. Innovations such as electricity, automobiles, television, and computers radically changed the world, and healthcare is on that same trajectory. The healthcare advances today are culminating in what may be the next major transformation of our lifetime.

For real-time updates about conference hot topics such as these, follow @Safeguard and the hashtag #JPM12 for healthcare tweets and conference news on the go. Be sure to come back to our blog for additional coverage on these conferences, and the state of healthcare and life sciences.