Unlocking a Billion-Dollar Opportunity: HPC in Healthcare for MedTech and IT Firms

Published on 10 Nov, 2023

High Performance Computing (HPC) has emerged as a transformative force that promises to revolutionize the industry in ways never seen before. As demand for innovative medical solutions and data-driven insights continues to grow, HPC technologies present a compelling opportunity for MedTech and IT firms. It could significantly impact patient care, medical research, and bottom-line growth for businesses in the healthcare ecosystem.

HPC is a cutting-edge technology with millions of cores spread across multiple nodes, capable of computing power on a large scale. HPC systems have a memory range of terabytes to petabytes of RAM, run specialized operating systems optimized for parallel processing, and leverage diverse computing libraries for efficient computing. These systems are adept at handling complex tasks such as simulations, data analysis, and scientific research. HPC has emerged as a game changer in the healthcare sector, with groundbreaking possibilities for pharmaceutical and medical technology advancements.

Pharmaceutical Innovations

  • Drug Discovery and Design: HPC plays a pivotal role in accelerating drug discovery and design. Molecular dynamics simulations, pharmacodynamics, pharmacokinetics studies, and disease modeling are considerably expedited with HPC’s immense computational power. Researchers can analyze intricate interactions within biological systems to identify potential drug candidates more swiftly with this technology.
  • Toxicology Prediction: Predicting the toxicity of potential drugs is a critical step in drug development. HPC enables researchers to conduct comprehensive toxicology predictions by simulating the effects of substances on living organisms, minimizing risks associated with new drug candidates.
  • Genomics Analysis/Bioinformatics: Genomics analysis and bioinformatics thrive on HPC systems. Gene sequencing, protein modeling, and the quest for personalized medicines rely on HPC, which helps researchers better understand the human genome and design tailored medical treatments.
  • Clinical Trials Planning and Execution: The planning and execution of clinical trials are complicated and resource-intensive. HPC streamlines the process, facilitating efficient trial design, data analysis, and real-time monitoring, thus potentially shortening the time required to provide new treatments to patients.

Medical Technology

  • Medical Imaging: HPC enhances medical imaging in several ways such as 3D registration and reconstruction. It enables real-time imaging and navigation of endoscopes and ingestible pills, providing clinicians with clearer, more accurate images for diagnosis and treatment planning.
  • Simulation and Modeling: Patient-specific models are crucial for surgical planning and training. HPC facilitates the processing of intricate patient-specific models, allowing surgeons to rehearse procedures and refine their techniques. Additionally, radiation therapy planning, and dose calculation are optimized with HPC, ensuring precise treatment delivery.
  • Neural and Spinal Simulation: HPC is instrumental in simulating neural and spinal scenarios, aiding in research, diagnostics, and surgical planning for conditions affecting the central nervous system.
  • Patient Monitoring and Early-Stage Disease Prediction: HPC systems can process vast amounts of data from wearables and electronic health records for real-time patient monitoring. This enables early-stage disease prediction, allowing the continuum of care, and facilitates at-home care for patients, in particular the elderly and those with dementia. Enabling VR and AR Technologies: HPC powers VR and AR technologies in the medical field. It enhances medical training by providing immersive simulations and aids patient education by visualizing complex medical concepts.

Some examples of HPC usage in healthcare are as follows:

Cancer Research at The University of Texas at Austin

Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin are using HPC to advance cancer treatment. In a significant breakthrough in 2017, they utilized HPC to analyze petabytes of data, searching for correlations between a cancer patient's genetic makeup (genome) and the composition of their tumors. This research laid the foundation for ongoing projects focused on characterizing and treating various types of cancer, including prostate, blood-related, liver, and skin cancers.

HPC supports multiple aspects of cancer research, including drug development, diagnosis, and personalized treatment planning.

Rady Children's Institute for Genomic Medicine at San Diego, California

The Rady Children's Institute in San Diego specializes in genomic sequencing. Most importantly, sequencing the first human genome was a time-consuming process that took 13 years. However, with HPC, the institute was able to sequence the genome of a newborn in less than a day using a tool called DRAGEN. These examples showcase how HPC technologies are changing the medical field, enabling faster and more precise genomic analysis, which has the potential to accelerate advancements in cancer research and personalized medicine.

Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) Business Models

D2C sales channel has disrupted the traditional mattress industry. By eliminating the middleman and selling directly to customers online, mattress companies can offer competitive prices, improve customer experiences, and post an increase in margins. This trend fostered an environment where innovative startups can thrive, challenging established brands. The high impetus on the D2C business model has resulted in the following:

  • Cost Efficiency: By evading retailers and wholesalers, D2C mattress companies can eliminate the markups associated with traditional distribution channels. This often results in cost savings that can be passed on to consumers, making mattresses more affordable. One such company is Tuft & Needle, which sells directly to consumers online, they could reduce costs associated with traditional retail models and offer competitive prices.
  • Convenience: Customers can easily shop for mattresses online from the comfort of their homes, eliminating the need to visit physical stores. Many D2C mattress companies also offer hassle-free trial periods and easy return policies. For instance, mattress manufacturer, Eight, went for the popular “bed in a box” business model whereby the mattress is delivered by mail along with a 100-night trial to ensure the customer’s comfort over the long term.
  • Brand Control: D2C brands have greater control over their brand image, messaging, and overall customer experience due to their direct sales approach. They can directly engage with customers and gather feedback to improve their products and services.


HPC is poised to become the next billion-dollar opportunity for MedTech and IT firms, calling for fresh investments. Several convincing factors support this statement.

  • The availability and increasing maturity of complementary technologies such as machine learning and advanced processing units like GPUs and TPUs have set the stage for HPC to flourish.
  • The visible benefits emerging from the convergence of HPC with MedTech applications are capturing the industry’s attention. These practical use cases demonstrate the tangible advantages that HPC can bring to healthcare and technology firms.
  • HPC offers the potential to amplify returns on existing technological investments. It has become evident that some prior investments in machine learning may not yield their full potential until HPC is effectively integrated.

Industry giants like Nvidia, IBM, Google, AWS, and Microsoft have already paved the way, supplying the necessary infrastructure and tools and making it easier for firms to venture into the HPC realm.

The key beneficiaries of HPC's ascent encompass a wide spectrum of stakeholders. Cloud service providers, MedTech platform developers (including electronic health and medical records), insurance companies, semiconductor manufacturers, GPU and TPU makers, and IT infrastructure developers and operators, including data center owners, are all set to reap the rewards of this burgeoning opportunity. As HPC's influence continues to expand, its transformative potential promises to reshape the landscape of both healthcare and technology, ushering in a new era of innovation and prosperity.


The democratization of HPC resources through cloud computing platforms is likely to mold the future landscape of the technology. Researchers, startups, and organizations of all sizes in healthcare can harness the power of HPC without the need for extensive infrastructure investment, providing access to computational resources and fostering innovation on a global scale.

The convergence of HPC and big data analytics is expected to unlock valuable insights from vast datasets, transforming fields such as genomics and MedTech. The ability to process, analyze, and visualize massive datasets in real-time will fuel discoveries and facilitate informed decision-making in unprecedented ways.

Furthermore, HPC's role in addressing global challenges such as climate change, pandemics, and sustainable energy solutions cannot be overstated. HPC-powered simulations and modeling would continue to be instrumental in understanding complex systems, predicting future trends, and devising effective strategies to mitigate and adapt to these challenges.