Is digital health the next big thing?
This is the question rising while reading the last research from Accenture:
“Fueled by Healthcare IT Start-Up Funding, Digital Disruption is Knocking: Funding of the US healthcare startups should double over the next three years, reaching $6.5 billion by 2017.”
Same findings for the famous silicon-valley based digital health incubator, Rock Health. In their 2014 mid-year study they found that 143 digital health companies raised $2.2 billion, with deal sizes climbing from an average of $10 million last year to $15.6 million this year.
All this is confirmed in the latest deal, the China’s biggest smartphone makers, Xiaomi, invested $25 million in iHealth Labs, one of the most promising smart health devices makers. Thus achieving the sixth biggest deal of the year in digital health after:
Proteus Digital Health: $172 million
NantHealth: $135 million
Doximity: $54 million
Voalte: $36 million:
Voluntis: $29 million
An American phenomenon? Is digital health only disrupting healthcare in the US?
No way! All healthcare systems are concerned, and Europe is becoming an important place for healthcare innovation. There are even institutions like the UK’s NHS trying to encourage this development. Public Health England (PHE) announced in June 2014 the launch of PHE Health X, an innovation initiative that invites early-stage tech businesses to submit their ideas for improving people’s health. Besides the prize of £15,000, the most interesting opportunity for the winner will surely be the opportunity to market on the NHS Choices website (with more 1 million visitors per day), and the access to Public Health England’s database.
Scalability and growth , two of the main concerns for investors, made possible by UK government involvement which is leading the field in Public/Private partnerships (PPPs).
Public/private partnerships: the last resort ?
Regulators, doctors, patients.. unlike other industries, there are several key stakeholders who must be addressed before a company can successfully bring their product to market. For this reason, the healthcare system moves more slowly than other industries, even if there is a good opportunity for innovation to break through with the need for healthcare reforms, issues on aging population and chronic disease management and the multiplicity of digital solution offers.
So public/private partnerships seem to be a prerequisite to market a solution to the healthcare system.
A necessary but not sufficient condition.
A patient-centric approach, and more exactly “a patient inclusive” approach, should become the norm to develop these solutions. Not only for the user-centred design approach, but also for ethical concerns. Anyway, “the future is already here… It is just not yet marketed.” That’s what I’ve learnt from meeting the amazing (LeWeb’14 speaker) Daniel Kraft last year in Palo Alto Nasa Site, where he established the Singularity University he co-founded. An incredible keynote… and a trailer :
Be confident.. Future is friendly !
To be continued with Part 2 very soon…
Top photo: iHealth’s connected glucometer and app – Image Credit: iHealth