With investment in digital health reaching $8.1 billion in 2018, understanding how this complex field will impact the healthcare industry is paramount. The recently updated report from IDTechEx Research, 'Digital Health 2019: Trends, Opportunities and Outlook', acts as a primer to the digital health space.
Digital health promises to change the face of healthcare. Reflecting this is growing interest in the digital health space, as evidenced by a substantial growth in investment over the 5 years. Digital health continues to take prominence at healthcare conferences such as the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference in January 2019, illustrating its growing importance - but it is not limited to strictly the healthcare space.
Digital health is a convoluted and complex field, much of which is made up of technologies and services that enable healthcare outside of traditional clinical settings. It follows a global trend in the healthcare industry of decentralization to alleviate overburdened hospitals and clinics. Coupled with escalating healthcare costs, shrinking profit margins and ageing populations suffering with chronic conditions, digital health offers a solution to these problems for all players in the space including patients, providers and payers. In fact, it presents such an alluring and lucrative opportunity that companies not previously in the healthcare space are making significant investments and moves to do so. Big tech companies such as Amazon, Apple and Alphabet have made significant strides into the healthcare space since their announcements in January 2018.
The time is ripe for digital health due to the combination of a number of factors. These include changing population demographics, such as ageing populations with increasing prevalence of chronic diseases, as well as current and upcoming changes to regulations and reimbursements which mean that the route to market and take-up of digital health services and technologies is more likely in 2019 and beyond.
By whichever name it comes under, whether that's digiceuticals, digital therapeutics or software-as-a-drug, this idea of software replacing drugs is a worry for large, established pharmaceutical companies. Coupled with the changing landscape of healthcare which is moving away from treating patients and towards a model of preventative care and a move from fee-based to value-based services, big pharma is being disrupted and digital health threatens to cause even more turbulence.
'Digital Health 2019: Trends, Opportunities and Outlook' acts as a primer to the digital health space, providing a detailed overview of the ecosystem and offering insights into the key trends, opportunities and outlooks for all aspects of digital health, including:
- Telehealth and telemedicine
- Remote patient monitoring
- Digital therapeutics / digiceuticals / software-as-a-drug
- Consumer genetic testing
- Diabetes management
- Smart home as a carer