The promise of digital health, telehealth, and other medtech solutions like remote patient monitoring has been apparent to people in the industry for a long time, but it wasn’t until COVID-19 forced the adoption of these tools that the promise started to become a reality.
Global Market Insights forecasts that telemedicine will expand at a 26.2 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) between 2020 and 2026. Investors have also pounced on the digital health market as rapid consumer adoption has created massive new business for digital health companies; in fact, Rock Health reports that $5.4 billion was invested in digital health during the first half of 2020. That’s expanded even more, with a slew of IPOs and big-dollar investments, and 2020 is already a record-breaking year, with a running total of $9.4 billion invested.
Consumers are largely onboard with the shift to telehealth, with about 50 percent of internet users in the U.S. and the UK in favor of being able to consult with a doctor remotely rather than in person, according to a digital healthcare report from GlobalWeb Index. Forty-three percent of the respondents would use a wearable device that connects with their smartphone to monitor their health.
That said, half of consumers expressed concerns about privacy and security of their healthcare data when it’s being used by artificial intelligence and machine learning programs. That’s in alignment with a 2019 Rock Health report on digital health adoption that also revealed consumer concerns about privacy. Specifically, the Rock Health report states, consumers’ willingness to share their health data depends on who they’re being asked to share it with.
Medtech has also helped healthcare providers deal with COVID-19. By using web-based tools to do triage, monitoring and treatment of COVID-19, health systems have been able to increase their capacity to deal with the number of coronavirus patients without putting extra burdens on clinicians. And solutions like voice technology and AI integrated into devices has helped address the isolation and its resulting mental and physical health challenges.
We can expect future medtech to prevent a repeat of the COVID-19 pandemic experience. Prodeep Bose, EVP, Growth and Innovation of The Block, believes the medtech industry’s new focus will be very centered on sensors. The goal of these sensors would be to sense pathogens before they become the next pandemic, Bose says.
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