Taking the Pulse of Digital Health

Digital technologies are altering the very fabric of the traditional healthcare delivery model. Consumers are actively embracing digital tools to take charge of their health. Social media and mobile platforms are becoming increasingly important channels not only for consumers but also for Healthcare institutions. Such developments are driving leading device vendors into the digital health market.

Healthcare focussed devices and interfaces launched by Samsung and Apple will be instrumental in propelling the global healthcare accessory hardware market to $3 billion by 2019, according to a new report from leading hi-tech analyst house Juniper Research.

The report – Digital Health: Remote Monitoring, Smart Accessories & EHR Cost Savings 2014-2019 – argues that greater visibility and availability of healthcare smartphone platforms will encourage independent device manufacturers to launch a wider array of increasingly sophisticated mHealth products. Such devices include blood pressure cuffs, oximeters for diabetes and sleep monitors for sleep apnoea.
However, the report observes that although Apple’s HealthKit and Samsung’s SAMI (Samsung Architecture for Multimodal Interactions) user interfaces will popularise consumer digital health, they could also impact the opportunity for bespoke remote patient monitoring devices. Report author Anthony Cox noted that “As health platforms support more ‘medical’ devices, rather than just today’s fitness trackers, they will usurp the territory occupied by chronic disease monitoring companies.’ In the US ‘ObamaCare‘ offers digital health opportunity. The report also notes that, driven by aging populations and increased chronic disease incidence, ‘ObamaCare’ is bringing about a re-think in how healthcare needs should be addressed, with the medical profession increasingly considering the role of digital health. This will manifest itself in several ways including:

- Healthcare companies investing in major digital healthcare players such as Epocrates and AirStrip;

- Advanced EHR (Electronic Health Records) becoming the ‘glue’ to create wider digital health ecosystems; and,

- Regulatory authorities embracing the role of digital health and imposing less stringent regulatory obligations on digital health companies.

It found that despite a more positive outlook for the digital health industry’s future, widespread, well-documented trials are still needed to galvanise take-up of remote patient monitoring projects. Furthermore questions remain over how digital healthcare projects will be reimbursed.

The whitepaper, ‘Taking the Pulse of Digital Health‘ is available to download from the Juniper Research website together with further details of the full report and the attendant Digital Health Excel.

This post is also available in: Italian