COVID-19: A boon (in disguise) for the digital health industry

By Suparna De

How has COVID-19 changed the digital health landscape?

It is a hapless truth that COVID-19 has provided an impetus to the digital health boom and sped up health tech adoption across the globe. As social distancing is becoming the new norm, the use of telemedicine has increased drastically across the globe. The growth of the digital health market, telemedicine, and remote patient monitoring is the spur of the COVID-19. According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, roughly 13,000 beneficiaries in fee-for-service (FFS) Medicare received healthcare services through telemedicine in a week before the coronavirus outbreak hit the US. This figure had increased to around 1.7 million by the end of April 2020. According to J.D. Power, only 10% of U.S. patients used telemedicine services before the pandemic. The usage of telehealth apps in the US surged to 158% post-COVID-19. As reported by Nikkei, the inquiries for online healthcare have surged 15-fold since the COVID-19 outbreak started in Japan. According to Bain, the daily active users of Singapore-based telemedicine platform MyDoc increased by 60% in February and then doubled in March. There has also been a surge in the daily active users of digital-health platforms in Australia and Indonesia. Statistically, the forecast estimates for the telehealth market size have also been revised from $21.56 billion globally in 2017 to $250 billion by 2025. The telemedicine market in the APAC is set to increase to $22.5 billion by 2025 from $8.5 billion in 2020. The increased health tech adoption is also clear from the existence of over 300,000 digital health applications in the market, with roughly over 200 being added every day. 

Which digital health technology is likely to continue post-COVID-19?

To meet the unmet demand for proper medical equipment such as protective gear and ventilators, a group of Spanish organizations developed a 3D-printed emergency ventilator, which was also medically approved. Somerville, Massachusetts-based Formlabs, a 3D-printing company is printing COVID-19 testing swabs. Florida-based automobile giant NASCAR took a temporary detour from its core business and manufactured personal protective equipment or PPE for healthcare professionals by repurposing its 3D-printers. Services such as Lemonaid Health based out of San Francisco, California provide online consultations, at-home COVID-19 testing, and at-home drug delivery. Technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) that can predict future outbreaks of pandemic causing germs are likely to stay even after COVID-19. Toronto-based BlueDot has built outbreak risk software that works towards reducing peoples’ exposure to contagious diseases. The company’s AI algorithm scrutinized data reports from news, airlines, and animal disease outbreaks, and detected a trend. Later, epidemiologists confirmed an outbreak by analyzing the trend. Another gamut of digital health companies that are expected to stay even post COVID-19 is the ones that design UV disinfection robots such as Violet from Dublin-based company called Akara Robotics. Other examples are South Germany-based UVD Robots and Shenzhen-based YouiBot Robotics. In line with the above developments in the digital health corporate sector, it is likely that technology such as 3D-printing, artificial intelligence, and disinfection robots among others are likely to continue post-COVID-19.

What’s in store for you?

It is a (un) fortunate reality that COVID-19 has spurred innovations across the digital health technology sector and the new normal of social distancing will only enable the overall market to gain greater traction. To delve deeper into the digital health industry landscape and provide actionable insights to the economic developers keen to attract investment into their communities, Wavteq’s Corporate Intelligence unit has curated a comprehensive research report aptly titled Industry Blueprints: Digital Health scheduled to be launched by the end of the month. Our new Industry Blueprint, developed specifically for our Wavteq Institute subscribers, examines the digital health sector thoroughly covering:

  • The Digital Health Ecosystem
  • Key demand drivers
  • Future trends
  • Adoption patterns
  • Top 25 Digital Health Hotspots
  • Active VC’s & Corporates
  • Unicorns
  • Digital Health Incubators
  • Recent greenfield & M&A investment activity

About Wavteq Institute

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Institute is the world’s leading knowledge center on FDI and investment promotion, providing access to hundreds of thought leadership studies, presentations, and papers. We also provide policy advisory services through Wavteq Institute, and we have advised the highest levels of government on foreign direct investment policy and strategies. By training & aiding in skill development, the economic development fraternity can expect better outcomes, our mission being a Thriving Community.

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