This number exceeded the amount of last year’s Q1 funding of $1.2 billion.
And while half of 2019 has passed, the year’s not over yet. We have looked into the digital health trends that we perceive will dominate the market in the coming months and onto next year.
The first trend is pervasive, and reaches across the facets of digital health. It’s something we’ve discussed previously on the blog, and likely an aspect that will continue to dominate the field:
1. Omnichannel Delivery
Omnichannel healthcare delivery involves creating an integrated customer experience through various channels. The omnichannel experience aims to deliver a seamless output, unlike the multichannel experience. The latter are simply marketing or sales touch-points via multiple channels without much or any integration.
Omnichannel is growing increasingly common in the B2C-space, but it’s also making its way into healthcare.
An example of this can involve a patient looking for physician reviews on her laptop, then proceeding to book an appointment via an app, and finally going for an in-person visit. Following this, the patient adheres to an exercise regimen and tracks her vitals via a smartwatch that automatically sends information to her doctor for review. All seamless via a closed ecosystem.
The healthcare industry is starting to realize that fragmentation is a major issue. As a consequence, the interconnectedness of healthcare systems will likely gather momentum during the year, and we’ve probably only seen the beginning of this trend.
Wearables aren’t new, nor is the collection of data via IoT. But what’s novel is the growth in this industry, and the way the data collected can be used. Most importantly for preventive medicine.
Smartwatches are becoming more sophisticated, with both Apple and Samsung recently releasing new versions. The common denominator among many top-brands is that they can now measure ECG and provide a good overview of the wearer’s heart health. Furthermore, Amazon teamed up with wearable company Omron to allow its Alexa to monitor blood pressure.
ECG and blood pressure smartwatches are yet to reach their full potential, and likely require a few more iterations to be truly great. Nevertheless, medical professionals can still benefit from using them in their clinical practice today, due to the convenience for the end-user who can track their cardiovascular health with ease.
Blockchain didn’t die in 2017. Even though Bitcoin saw its peak nearly two years ago, blockchain technology continued to thrive. With the rise of wearables and large amounts of biometric data, privacy is a major concern.
Blockchain technology holds the promise of providing advanced encryption and thus protecting private information, keeping anonymized identities separated from cryptographic identifiers. With more and more biometric data being collected, the need for privacy will grow even greater.
4. Personalized Care
Due to the above-mentioned data, along with omnichannel delivery growing in popularity, we’re likely to see more and more personalized care.
This can be in the form of doctors providing care based on biometric data gathered via wearables, or a mobile app providing personalized tips based on nutrigenomics results, for example.
5. Artificial Intelligence
AI and deep learning can help improve healthcare efficiency dramatically. For example, today AI can help analyze CAT scans in just 1.2 seconds. That’s up to 150 times faster than human radiologists.
Overall, AI will help provide more accurate, on-the-spot results in less time, ultimately reducing costs across the delivery chain. While a doctor’s job might seem like the last thing to be outsourced to a machine, the chances of that happening are increasing by the day.
AI can currently diagnose childhood illness better than some doctors, for example. And machines are liberated from making human mistakes, such as allowing the afternoon slump to affect your diagnosis.
In 2019 we’re just seeing the sprouts of trends that will flourish and come to define the digital health landscape in the coming years. In the near future, we’ll be expecting a higher level of service from our healthcare providers, higher levels of personalized care, and a smoother care experience overall.